How To Work Shift Work and Minimise Digestive Distress.

When it comes to health complaints amongst shift workers, one of the most common things that I hear from my clients is digestive discomfort.  This can come in the form of constipation, bloating or various other irritable bowel type symptoms.

Now to be honest, there could be a myriad of reasons as to why you may be experiencing digestive distress, but today I want to talk about one strategy that’s  … well, often overlooked if you work 24/7 – yet it can make a MASSIVE difference to how your gut feels and functions.

And if comes down to asking yourself “when (and how often) am I eating?”

Because when we work 24/7, we tend to eat 24/7 which can set us up for a whole world of pain – in a number of ways!

In other words, although we may be awake at 2am (well I use the term “awake” loosely here!), it doesn’t mean we should be eating at 2am, because of our innate biological rhythms as a human being.

I’ll use an analogy to help explain what I mean.

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HSW 61: Constipation and SIBO with Lynda Griparic

This week we’re talking all things digestive health – in particular constipation and small intestinal bowel overgrowth, otherwise known as SIBO.  Given shift workers are often plagued with gastrointestinal complaints due to the biological stress associated with ongoing disruption to our sleep/wake cycle, together with diets that are often made up of processed foods which contain little fibre, this is an episode that you don’t want to miss!

Lynda Griparic is a Naturopath, Nutritionist, Writer and Yoga teacher with over 16 years of experience in the health industry who specialises in digestive health, in particular SIBO and constipation. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable bowel care programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of gut disturbance. Lynda has an intense interest in poo and she’s also the creator of the delicious BetterMe Tea a tea designed to promote improved gut health and digestion – assisting those who struggle with constipation and sluggish bowel movements to go to the bathroom with ease.

In this informative and entertaining episode chatting with Lynda, you’re going to learn:

  • Why it’s important to have regular bowel movements
  • Some of the causes and triggers of constipation
  • Exactly what is SIBO, and how it can impact on your health
  • Foods to avoid and support your gut health whilst working 24/7

Links mentioned on the podcast:

Lynda’s Website and Constipation Program

Lynda’s Love & Gut’s Podcast

Dr Jensen’s Guide to Better Bowel Care

The Sesame Seed: It May Be Small In Size But It's Packed With Nutritional Goodness!

As I delve further into my Nutritional Medicine degree, I’m always on the look-out for foods containing ingredients which can provide nourishment and energy specifically for sleep-deprived shift workers.

And the humble sesame seed is one of them.

Sesame Seeds are one of the most underrated foods.

The seeds are very nutrient-dense so you don’t have to eat a lot of them and although they might be small in size – they’re jam packed with beneficial nutrients including copper, magnesium and calcium.

Four Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds:

1. They are a low GI food which means they are a good source of slow release energy, which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Perfect for those of us who have to wait a while for our next meal break!

2. They aid digestion (constipation is very popular amongst shift workers), and help to calm the nervous system. I don’t know about you but I’m all for anything that helps to lower my stress levels and feelings of frazzleness! Not sure if that’s actually a word but anyway :-).

3. The magnesium helps to restore normal sleep patterns (as best they can when you work 24/7), particularly for women going through menopause.

4. The high calcium content can also help in the prevention of migraine headaches and PMS symptoms.

So there you go – lots of benefits for including sesame seeds into your diet!

How To Include Sesame Seeds Into Your Diet:

– Adding a spoonful to your smoothie for an alkalizing mineral boost.
– Throwing some into your homemade bread, muffins or cookies.
– Spreading tahini (sesame paste) on toasted bread with a drizzle of honey.
– Make your own salad dressing by combining toasted sesame seeds with rice vinegar, soy sauce and crushed garlic.
– A great addition to any stir-fry dinner mixed with garlic, soy sauce and ginger.

So never underestimate the power of something small. The humble sesame seed is the perfect example of this!

Do You Listen To Your Body Grumble?

Do you take the time and listen to what your body is telling you – or do you just ignore it and pretend those grumbling digestive sounds don’t belong to you?

Now the reason I ask this is because most people don’t listen to what their body is telling them.
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Feeling tired or bloated after a meal is not a normal occurrence of human digestion. These symptoms can actually indicate a myriad of possible digestive issues … and this includes those funny little ‘noises’ that seem to escape every now and then!!

You see most people cruise through life eating whatever they want – whenever they want. They smoke and they drink without understanding what they are doing to their body’s internal environment.

And if you keep doing this year after year, you are essentially causing wear and tear on your body and this is NOT GOOD!

You should listen to your body because your body will tell you exactly what it needs. (And it’s not a cheeseburger, coke and fries …)

If you’ve got hunger pains then don’t ignore them. It’s just your body’s way of telling you that it needs more energy.

And this also applies in reverse – when you’re not hungry. If your tummy is satisfied then don’t keep stuffing it with more. You have to let your body get the chance to digest this food properly otherwise it can lead to tummy aches and even malnutrition, as your cells are unable to absorb vital nutritients from the food.
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So despite what your mother or grandmother may have told you in the past – you do not have to finish everything that is on your plate!
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If you’re full – you’re full. It’s time to ‘down tools’ and just enjoy feeling satisfied.