With weather this blissful, who has the time or energy to focus on fixing little GI bothers? The great news: These one-stop wonders are easy — and cheap! Here’s what you need to soothe some of those gut health issues that seem to constantly pop up.
To prevent constipation, chew gum while you prep.
Pop some sugar-free, xylitol-sweetened gum while you’re fixing dinner. It’ll ward off that “backed up” feeling that comes from summer favorites like burgers and fried chicken. British scientists say xylitol feeds the type of gut-friendly bacteria that keeps you regular. It’s so effective, a study in the journal BJBMS suggests a single stick speeds digestion 25 percent —enough to prevent constipation and gut health problems entirely. Bonus: Chewing gum prevents snacking while you prep!
To sidestep indigestion, crack a joke at dinner.
Go ahead and share a silly story with your family or turn on a funny podcast when you sit down at the kitchen table. It may sound wacky, but a new study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe suggests that having a laugh during dinner — or even simply smiling! — has the power to ward off indigestion. That’s because even brief moments of joy and giggles boost levels of serotonin, a hormone that researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas say tamps down “bad” bacteria in the gut that can trigger GI upset and bloat.
To block heartburn, munch on this after you eat.
Enjoying a licorice chew after a meal is a tasty way to prevent heartburn, per research in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. One reason it’s so effective? Licorice “re-landscapes” your gut’s microbiome, say San Diego State University researchers, restoring healthy bacterial balance and shielding digestive system tissues.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.