We’ve seen snow for the last time (we hope) in the greater Boston area, which means spring weather is finally here! Spring is a time to start fresh and renew. After a long winter, your GI health could probably use a bit of renewal, too. Here are 5 ways to boost GI health in this lovely Boston spring weather:
Get A Workout Buddy
It’s no secret that working out is good for you. Recent research has shown the regular aerobic exercise is incredibly beneficial to your GI health. According to a study published on the US National Library of Medicine,
“Recent studies suggest that exercise can enhance the number of beneficial microbial species, enrich the microflora diversity, and improve the development of commensal bacteria. All these effects are beneficial for the host, improving its health status.”
However, those positive changes disappeared quickly after a regular exercise routine was discontinued. One way to stay accountable to an exercise routine for the benefit of your GI health is to find a workout buddy. Keep each other company on a run, at the gym, or play a sport together. By having a workout buddy, you’ll be less likely to skip out on your sweat session and your gut will thank you for it.
Prep Breakfasts and Dinners
One of the biggest pitfalls of maintaining good GI health is eating processed foods. We tend to eat a lot of processed foods when we’re busy or stressed. But, processed foods wreak havoc on your digestive system. To steer clear of over processed foods, try to prepare your breakfast and dinner ahead of time. If you can prepare all meals in advance, even better! By having healthy and nutritious meals ready to go, you’ll be less tempted to hit the drive through on your way home after a long day at the office.
Grill Instead of Fry
With the weather getting warmer, it’s time to break out the grill! While most people probably don’t use a deep fryer that often, cooking your food in a skillet with oil or butter is still considered frying your food. The fat and the oil you use to cook seeps into your food. Grilling allows the excess fat to drip off during cooking. Although healthy fats are essential to a balanced diet and a healthy gut, there are better ways to get them than through frying.
Infuse Your Water
Staying hydrated is essential to a healthy gut. By adding a few ingredients to your water this spring, you can increase the benefits and give your GI health a little boost. Here are some ideas to infuse your water and up your intake:
Lemon, lime, or orange- high in vitamin C and helps create digestive enzymes
Cucumber- high in fiber, aids in digestion and healthy bowel movements
Apple cider vinegar- add 2-3 tablespoons to help improve digestion and boost metabolism
Fresh mint- produces digestive enzymes that help absorb vitamins and nutrients in food
Ginger- add a few fresh slices to soak overnight to relieve cramps, bloating, gas, and indigestion
If you’re preparing your meals, you might are well prepare your snacks, too! If you’re always on the go, packing fresh fruit, nuts, veggie sticks, and homemade trail mix can save you from reaching for the potato chips or other over-processed snacks. Grazing throughout the day can also prevent overeating at meals which can cause significant GI discomfort.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the best things you can eat for better GI health this spring. Farmer’s markets are opening back up and your favorite fresh finds are in abundance! Here is a snapshot of what’s in season this spring in the greater Boston area:
Asparagus: May and June
Fava beans: May and June
Garlic scapes: May and June
Morels: May and June
Kohlrabi: June and July