What to eat to help with digestive issues
WHAT TO EAT
Double whammy foods
These help to balance hormones and are also good for digestive issue. Eat more phytoestrogens, plant compounds which mimic the effects of oestrogen and are found in:
Legumes: (chick peas, lentils, peas), peanuts, alfalfa and wholemeal rice.
Nuts: almonds in particular work menopausal wonders, cashews and peanuts.
Seeds: milled linseed, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin.
Whole grains, rye, barley and oats, whole wheat, granola, bran and muesli.
Soya products: milk, yogurts, mince, flour, beans, fermented Miso.
Fibre prevents constipation. Eat more: whole grains, broccoli, spinach, apples, cauliflower and oats.
Omega-3 is a star player in digestion, with anti-inflammatory powers they help promote healthy stomach bacteria and keep cell membranes healthy. Eat more: walnuts, chia and linseeds, egg yolks and SMASH - salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring.
Have more oats
Probiotic supplements and food are big business, but the BBC’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor programme found a lack of evidence that they have much impact on digestive issues. Instead, they recommended the humble low GI oat - and its fibre content – as a better option to support digestion. Pass the porridge!
Spice up your digestion
Try Turmeric, an anti-inflammatory, which can sooth the stomach and protect it from acid overload. Add it to cooking, smoothies and salad dressings, (where it’ll give digestive benefits and gorgeous colour and a yummy flavour). Fennel, caraway, cardamom and star anise seeds can also help to deal with digestive issues. Fennel is a bit of an unsung digestive hero; easing wind, bloating and stomach pains. Add crushed seeds to sauces, or make a tea by adding 2 teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds to boiling water.
Liquorice cures allsorts
But not everything! Liquorice is good for heartburn and acid reflux. Chew liquorice root – remember it from playground days? (or is that just us!). It can be taken as a supplement, or as a tea made from powder form. The recommended dose is no more than 5 ounces per day, which is about 3 pieces of raw liquorice root or 2-3 cups of liquorice herbal tea.
Chew and Sit
Eating on the go uses energy for walking that should be used for digestion, so sit down, chew and enjoy. On the subject of chewing, avoid gum. Hormone fluctuations may also affect the working of the oesophagus causing reflux, as air moves in the wrong direction, resulting in noisy burps!
Hormone fluctuations can cause constipation, as can some of the menopause supplements you might be taking. Hard stools, straining or passing less than three stools in a week may suggest constipation. You need to up your fibre intake by eating fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut. They’re found in products that are fermented such as natural yoghurt, miso (fermented soybean paste), sourdough bread and soy drinks. Try sauerkraut, or the new on-trend, gut-friendly fermented foods of the moment kimchi, kombucha and yucatan which could help with menopause symptoms such as bloating, low energy, loss of libido and irritable bowel syndrome. Why not make your own, try our recipes for Yucatán-Style Pickled Red Onions, Kombucha Tea and Korean Style Kimchi
What to drink?
‘Time for tea’ to help digestive problems
Caffeine-free herbal teas such as peppermint, ginger and camomile help with nausea and soothe your digestive system. Calming fennel tea has antiseptic properties. Where possible use fresh products to make these teas. Chop coarsely, (they’ll be even healthier if you add chopped fresh turmeric) add boiling water and strain. Tasty and full of good stuff. Drink several times a day for maximum benefit.
Make it better with bitters
Bitters are made from seeds, roots and a mix of botanicals, tasting better than they sound! Traditionally used for stomach problems, just add a few drops of a bitter like Angostura to a glass of water to help with flatulence, indigestion and a host of other digestive issues. The bitter taste stimulates digestive juices and sends messages to the brain to get the digestive system working. If you can’t buy bitters locally, look online, flavours to help include; orange, black walnut and plum. Add bitters to tonic water for an almost alcohol-free drink. Usually sold in small bottles, a little goes a long way. Coming soon, Basil’s Bitters, he’s concocted a special PositivePause menopause bitter called Bitter and Twisted, we’ll keep you posted when it’s available.
Drink lots of it, straight from the tap and in herbal teas. Water dilutes the acids responsible for indigestion and helps softens stools. Lack of moisture can lead to pains and constipation. Read our blog Good Hydrations.