Now in its 15th year, was set up in 1999 and is organised by national digestive health charities Core – the working name for the Digestive Disorders Foundation.
Having done some snappy research on snacks, they’ve come up with statistics to show that 24% of us are putting our stomach health at risk by not eating three square meals a day. Instead we grab snacks twice during the day. The insights are interesting for anyone, with or without diabetes as they are part of how we live now.
Speedy, stressful and snacking habits might be having a serious impact on digestive health. With 33% wolfing down lunch in under 10 minutes, often sat at computers, we’re not giving our guts much of a chance. The demise of eating meals around a table is more apparent than ever with 35% of us eating our breakfast in front of the TV, and almost half (44%) eating dinner in the same place. This now common practice can be problematic as people tend to eat more than they usually would as they’re concentrating on the TV, not on what they’re eating.
Dr Nick Read, physician, psychotherapist and Medical Adviser to the IBS Network comments: “It’s worrying that almost a third of the people surveyed feel stressed and anxious most days as these feelings can activate the sympathetic nervous system which can increase intestinal sensitivity and cause spasms, bloating and indigestion.”
Top tips for healthy digestion from Dr Nick Read
- Relax and allow time to eat your meal – if you are rushed or feeling stressed, it can give you indigestion and abdominal spasm.
- Don’t eat fatty meals if you are in a hurry. Fat takes longer to digest than other nutrients and is more likely to induce pain and make you feel sick.
- A glass of wine during a meal helps digestion; half a bottle makes it worse as it can irritate the stomach.
- Avoid vigorous exercise straight after a meal as this can activate the sympathetic nervous system and impair digestion, although going for a gentle stroll can help your meal go down.