With so much going on in the summer, it can be easy to end up taking a detour on the road of healthy living. While seasonal delicacies including fresh fruit and vegetables are plentiful, less nutritional treats such as ice cream and marshmallows are also popular. And there’s no denying that it’s a lot easier to grab a takeout burger on the way from the pool to the park than it is to head home and cook lunch.
So how do you stay on track and make sure that summer fun doesn’t derail your health? Activia’s registered dietician Zannat Reza has some tips to help you enjoy optimal digestive health all summer long:
1.Enjoy probiotics every day
Probiotics, also known as ‘friendly’ or ‘good’ bacteria, create a healthy gut environment in several ways, including changing the acidity of the gut so that bad bacteria can’t survive, competing with bad bacteria for nutrients and producing compounds that attack bad bacteria. Eating probiotics every day – in yoghurt, for example, has been shown to improve the health of the digestive system – which means better health overall.
2. Focus on fibre
One benefit of fibre is that it helps push food through your body’s internal plumbing. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils). Women need 25 grams of fibre every day, while men need 38 grams of fibre.
3. Eat less, but more often…and stick to a routine
You know the feeling. You eat too much and feel stuffed, bloated or begin suffering heartburn. According to Dr. Ruscio, this is because when we eat too much at one time, we put unnecessary stress on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This tiny muscle keeps food from moving back up to your esophagus, which causes heartburn.
- Try eating 4-5 small meals a day rather than fewer larger meals.
- Eating less more often also helps regulate your blood sugar levels.
- When possible, try to eat your regular meals and snacks at about the same times each day. Don’t skip meals. Your digestive system will appreciate the routine!
4. Slow down
Chewing your food properly instead of eating quickly to save time avoids the risk that you will swallow air – which can lead to gas, bloating and nausea. The digestive process starts in your mouth and by chewing food thoroughly, you are also helping to break down some of the nutrients.
5. Stay hydrated
Water and other liquids add moisture to food and waste going through your digestive system, making it easier to pass through. Keep in mind that carbonated drinks can cause extra gas and discomfort. Women need 9 cups of fluid (water, milk, juice, tea) every day while men need 12 cups.
I received some coupons so that I could add Activia to my day and see what kind of difference it made. I had been eating quite well but I have to admit that my love of barbequed food meant that I was enjoying more burgers and hot dogs than normal. I decided to have Activia yoghurt for a mid-morning snack each day and see what kind of difference I noticed.
After about a week of eating Activia, the one thing that I realized first and foremost was that I was experiencing way less indigestion than usual. The probiotic BL Regularis in Activia promotes digestive health and I was really seeing what kind of difference that made. Processed foods like hot dogs always taste great at mealtime and then irritate my stomach later, but with Activia every day, I didn’t have the same bloating and discomfort.
I also loved that Activia came in a Source of Fibre variety. I have recently added a lot more fibre to my diet and the difference it makes in my overall energy level and feeling of well-being is incredible. The Activia with extra fibre wasn’t just good for me; it was tasty and helped make my mid-morning snack a little more filling.
If you’re looking for an easy way to make sure that you’re feeling your best this summer, why not add Activia to your day and see how you feel after a week or two? It’s delicious, nutritious and helps promote intestinal health, making it a perfect snack for any time of year!