Have you been struggling with stomach pain, bloating, acid reflux, or change in bowel habits ever since the pandemic? If you belong to the yes category, then you have the ‘pandemic stomach’ or the ‘pandemic tummy’.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Many people have been experiencing gastric symptoms due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The stress and the worry from the global pandemic have taken a toll on the gut health thereby resulting in symptoms like reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Some people have either gained weight or lost weight due to the isolation and quarantine. This extra weight around the abdomen is also described as pandemic tummy.
CAUSES OF ACID REFLUX
Your gut health relies mainly on the food you eat and the feelings you experience in your mind and heart. Let’s understand how these causes have become troublesome during the pandemic.
1. Mental state Mental health is known to have adverse effects on your gut for eons. With the onset of the pandemic, individuals have been under tremendous pressure, stress, and duress. The worries that were present from before, have multiplied manifold during the pandemic. People are concerned and anxious about their job, their health, social isolation, and the future.
2. Physical isolation has been the most gruesome on most people. Being cut off from your family and friends can affect your mental and physical well being. As humans, we are designed to socialize and indulge in activities with fellow individuals. With the forced quarantine, we have been living a lonely life and been all by ourselves.
3. Food habits During the pre-covid era, you had a routine, a set rhythm. With the onset of the pandemic, your routine got messed up and you started eating unhealthy foods at odd times. Many people have resorted to drinking alcohol to cope with the stress of the current scenario.
4. Lack of exercise Add to bad food habits, a sheer lack of exercise and you have prepped for your pandemic stomach. Since you are not allowed to venture out for a walk or any kind of exercise due to the constant lockdowns, your weight continues to increase making all your gastric symptoms worse. It then becomes a vicious cycle where you need to exercise to be able to maintain your gut health and you need your tummy to be fine, to walk and exercise freely.
WAYS TO GET BACK YOUR GUT HEALTH
Are you looking to redeem your gut health? Wish to get back that healthy tummy vibe? Here are 3 easy tips to get you back in the pink of health soon.
1. Healthy foods Your gut behaves when you feed it right. By eating healthy, nutritious foods that are high in proteins, you can help boost your gut health. Consume probiotic and prebiotic foods to ensure that good bacteria enter your gut. Probiotic foods include buttermilk, dairy products, and anything that is fermented. Prebiotic foods are curd rice, garlic, bananas, and onions.
2. Exercise: The power to stay active and energise yourself each day can help keep you calm and fit. Start going for a walk, job, or a swim to improve your physical activity slowly. Moving for at least 20 minutes daily can improve your stamina and physical health. You could also try some yoga to relieve your physical and mental stress. This will help release the tension in your body and keep you calm and relaxed. Some yoga poses help improve your gut health by boosting digestion and increasing the absorption and assimilation of food in the body.
A good night of beauty sleep can do wonders for your health. There is nothing that a good night’s sleep cannot solve. With the pandemic, you may have gotten busier due to the work from home culture. But such a hectic lifestyle only means that you don’t have the time to spend on yourself. Rest for a while daily and fix your bedtime routine. Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep daily to feel well-rested and boost your health. Follow these easy tips and get rid of your pandemic stomach today! Bye-bye bad gut health and welcome the new you who ensures that mental and physical health is of topmost priority pandemic or not.
The writer is Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist, Manipal Hospital yeshwanthpur.