We often get asked about this, and the good news is there are actually quite a few easy things you can do to improve your digestion.
Staying regular is very important for many reasons;
Comfort – reduced feelings of bloating or swelling around your tummy.
Detoxing – eliminating waste from our bodies as fast as possible.
Momentum & Energy – feeling like your body is processing food fast and functioning well.
Health – Constipation and digestive issues can lead to more serious illness and disease, which we don’t want!
Why do we sometimes experience digestive issues with a Low Carb Diet?
The main reason is that many Low Carb Diets are often heavily based around meat and protein foods. These foods have minimal fibre, which we really do need to aid digestion. I always recommend a diet full of veggies for this reason (Lots of green and colourful ones). The carbs in green veggies are so minimal, and the fibre really helps you to stay regular on a low carb diet. This means you never feel bloated! WIN-WIN 🙂
Here are 7 ways to stay regular on a Low Carb Diet
The easiest way to stay hydrated is obviously to drink enough water. I know this is easier said than done for many people so here are a few tips on how I drink enough water. Minimum 2L but 3L is ideal, especially in summer.
- Carry a water bottle with you at all times – if you have it with you, you are so much more likely to sip on it!
- Have a target for how many bottles you need to drink to achieve your 3L
- Try drinking a mug of hot water at your desk. I found in winter that I was drinking so much coffee – mainly to stay warm – so now I’ll sip on hot water. It does take a little bit to get used to, but once you do, you will really love it.
- Drink straight from the tap after brushing teeth! – sounds funny I know, but I always guzzle as much water as I can after brushing my teeth in the morning. That way I leave the house knowing that I’ve already drunk at least 500mls of water, and I am hydrated before I get stuck into the coffees!
- Try Sparkling Water – either mineral or soda water – if you like bubbles, then this can make the water a little more interesting. Schweppes have a range of naturally flavoured waters that still have zero carbs/calories. They come in Peach, tangerine, Raspberry and Lime – available at most supermarkets.
- Herbal Tea – find your favourite herbal tea and enjoy. Mine is Lemongrass and Ginger which I find gives me a nice pick up too. Herbal Tea is obviously just water and herbs, so really helps you to stay hydrated.
- If drinking wine, always alternate 1 water for 1 wine – you will feel so much better for it!
Eat Your Veggies
Green Veggies are super low in carbs and provide a lot of both soluble and insoluble fibre that helps all the other food pass through your system. But you don’t have to ignore the coloured veggies. Not only are they low in carbs (except for your starchy ones, of course) but low calories too, so they’re the perfect way to make your meals larger, as well as increase your fibre intake. My faves would be Broccoli/Broccolini, Zucchini & Asparagus.
- Always use green veggies or salad greens as a base for your meals. Top with a protein of choice.
- If making a cheese/snack plate – also include cucumber slices, asparagus, snow peas & celery. These raw veggies go so well with both cheese & dips and give you a burst of freshness amongst the cheese.
- Try Zoodles – Zucchini noodles. You can buy the gadget from most kitchen shops now and they are really easy to make. Top with your favourite low carb pasta sauce such as bolognese or carbonara.
- Snack on Cucumber & Feta – Slice up a container and leave in the fridge – Feta is my fave cheese to have with cucumber, but feel free to get creative!
- Grill veggies in the sandwich press – we have a flat sandwich press at the office, and every day just slice up some zucchini or broccoli, top with a little butter then grill. The boys usually also do some meat patties or sausages, but I actually enjoy a huge big bowl of veggies topped with extra butter, salt & pepper.
- Olives are also a great low carb snack to enjoy. I love the ones filled with feta, available from the deli in most supermarkets!
Take ProBiotics and PreBiotics
As we know – we need good bacteria in our tummies to help break down our food. In today’s society where everything is overly sanitised and our food doesn’t contain as many natural elements, it is common for our tummies to be lacking this good bacteria.
Also if you have taken antibiotics, these can kill the good bacteria as well as the bad ones.
The easiest way to increase the good bacteria in your tummy is to take a probiotic.
- Always keep your probiotics in the fridge to maintain the bacteria
- Take 1 per day – check the instructions on the bottle to see if this should be before or after eating.
- Eat foods that contain Pre Biotics as well – these foods are like the food for the probiotics to help them grow. Foods that contain prebiotics are Garlic, Leek, Onion, Asparagus, Wheat bran, Bananas & Legumes.
- Be cautious that Banana and Wheat Bran are higher in carbs.
- The best Low Carb Legume, to gain this prebiotics is Lupin (which we use in all our products for this reason!)
Move your Body!!!
Movement of any type gets all your bodies systems, including digestion moving faster!
Intense exercise or a cardio session will enhance this, however, even just simple things like taking the stairs, or power walking to work will help.
- Be as active as you can be! Always thinking about how you can move your body.
- Get up half an hour early and walk or jog around the block.
- Experiment with new exercises to see if you can find something you love.
- Take the stairs, even jog up them if you can.
- Get off the bus 2 stops early and power walk to work.
- Clean the house – this is such an amazing exercise.
- Mow the lawn.
- Lift heavy things (but suck in your tummy to support your back)
- Squeeze your butt – this is my fave – your glutes (butt muscles) are the biggest in the body – so by squeezing them side by side, you are burning a lot of energy, toning your butt and getting all your body systems moving!
Supplement with Magnesium
Magnesium increases water in your intestines which helps digest your food.
It also relaxes your muscles making it easier to pass food through your system.
Since your intestines will be absorbing this excess water from your body it is very important to drink plenty of water after taking Magnesium. This will keep you from becoming dehydrated.
- Low Carb Foods that are naturally high in magnesium are: Green vegetables – Leafy types are the highest, Legumes (Lupin flour and Flakes are the lowest carbs), Berries, Nuts, Soy products, Fish, Avocado, Cabbage, Prunes, Pumpkin seeds (Pepitas) Plain Greek Yoghurt.
- You can also grab a magnesium citrate supplement from your local pharmacy – seek their advice on the best one.
Many people report that including a handful of nuts in their diet daily really helps to keep them regular.
Nuts contain a great combination of fiber and fats, which seem to do the trick.
- Any nuts that have the skin on are best for this as this is extra fibre
- Stick with dry roasted or natural nuts – anything honey coated or flavoured is a NONO!
- Cashews are unfortunately high in carbs – about 20g per 100g – so avoid these.
- Almonds, Brazil and Macadamias are the lowest carb nuts – but all nuts are fairly low so choose your favourite.
Staying Regular Checklist – (feel free to screenshot and pass on to someone who may appreciate it)
- Stay Hydrated
- Eat Green Veggies
- Take ProBiotics and PreBiotics
- Move your Body!!!
- Supplement with Magnesium
- Go Nuts!!
- Natural Laxatives for SOS
Natural Laxatives for SOS
From time to time, no matter what your diet is like, sometimes things may be a little slow 🙁
Natural laxatives are made from a herb called Senna. You can also get this in a tea form from health food shops – but I find the tablets are much more convenient.
I wouldn’t recommend taking these any more frequently than once a week as your body can start to rely on them which is not what you want, but they are great for occasional use!
- Take 2-6 tablets before bed – make sure you have been drinking enough water that afternoon.
- Make sure you are conveniently close to a bathroom in the morning!!
- These are great for emergencies or particularly slow times to get you moving.
- These 3 brands are all available from supermarkets – Sennasoft Laxatives Senna Tablets, Ford Senna Laxatives Extra Strength Tablets, Laxettes Laxatives.
So there you go! Some super simple way to stay regular, and feel less bloated 🙂
- As the founder of PBCo. and Mum to an energetic toddler, Anna is an advocate for low carb living because it gives her the energy and vitality to power through long days, feeling great.
Anna is passionate about making low carb living easy, enjoyable and economical, and believes that everyone deserves to feel their best!