(BPT) – As pandemic restrictions have continued to shift in the last year and are now beginning to loosen, many Americans are struggling to find the right balance in their routines, and that imbalance can negatively impact their gut health. A recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Benefiber found that more than half of Americans (52 percent) experienced an increase in digestive problems during the last year, with eight in ten (85 percent) agreeing that added stress contributed to the increase.
Fortunately, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Keri Glassman has a few expert tips on ways to support gut health and overall wellness as Americans resume and refine their pre-pandemic routines:
Prioritize a Good Night’s Rest
Not getting enough rest can not only make you irritable, but can also have a negative effect on your gut health. To improve your sleep, start by establishing a consistent bedtime routine. Healthy sleep hygiene includes allowing enough time for a full night’s sleep, as well as preparing to rest by tuning out from any distractions. That means shutting off all devices at least one hour before bedtime to let you wind down before you fall asleep. Also, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is a good step in cleaning up your sleep routine.
Get Up and Move
After spending more time indoors and on the couch this past year, it may take some extra effort to get back out and move your body more. Even with a busy schedule, try to sneak in ‘movement breaks’ throughout your day, whether that’s a morning bike ride, a walk around the block at lunch or playing outside with the kids in the evening. Breaking up the time spent sitting and exercising more are two easy ways to support your gut health. Give yourself a movement goal for the day such as 45 minutes or 60 minutes. These minutes can be broken up throughout the day.
Make Time for Self-Care
Managing stress is a vital part of overall wellness. Of course, everyone has a different idea of how to relax. Some prefer yoga, while others may turn to meditation or reading a book or even running a bubble bath. What’s important is to explore a few different calming activities to see what works best for you. It’s not about what you do, but rather setting time aside each day, even just 15 minutes, to slow down, breathe and de-stress.
Help Your Gut Flourish with Fiber
Diet is one of the primary factors that helps shape your gut microbiome. Survey data revealed that while 71 percent of Americans believe a balanced and healthy gut can help maintain general health and well-being, 57 percent are not confident that they consume the amount of fiber they need daily. Fiber helps maintain a diverse community of microorganisms in your gut by feeding the good bacteria (probiotics) and helping to suppress the bad bacteria, which is why I often recommend a plant-based prebiotic fiber like Benefiber for those not meeting daily requirements. Benefiber is a clear, taste-free* prebiotic fiber that nourishes the goodness inside your gut to help maintain digestive health**. Plus, it can be easily mixed into non-carbonated beverages or your favorite recipe, making it simple to add as a part of your daily wellness routine.
For a tasty way to try incorporating Benefiber into your diet, try these ‘Stay Satisfied Wild Blueberry and Fig Scones’ for a great breakfast or on-the-go snack:
Stay Satisfied Wild Blueberry and Fig Scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
4-8 teaspoons Benefiber Original Prebiotic Fiber Supplement
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup milk of choice (we prefer almond milk)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup wild blueberries, frozen
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
Defrost and strain blueberries and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and milk. Stir, and allow to sit for 15 minutes to create your ‘buttermilk.’
In a mixing bowl, combine almond flour, spelt flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and Benefiber. Add ‘buttermilk’, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Mix well until dry ingredients are completely incorporated to make a dough.
Using a spatula, fold in the blueberries and figs just until combined. Do not overmix.
Using generous ¼-cup measures, drop batter about 1″ apart onto prepared baking sheet.
Lightly brush surface of scones with the ‘buttermilk’.
Bake 14 to 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden brown and firm to touch.
*Most Benefiber skus are clear and taste-free, excluding the Strawberry Kiwi Stick Packs.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.