Three Things You Can Do To Improve Your Digestion, Right Now
A strong, healthy digestive system is the foundation of good health. When the digestive system is not working as well as it should, our entire body suffers. Food is how we fuel our body. It is the digestive system’s job to break food down into the components that our body can utilize. If that’s not happening, we simply aren’t fuelling our body as well as we should. I say it all the time: we can be eating lots of nutritious foods but if we are not digesting them well, a lot of those nutrients are being flushed down the toilet (literally!).
Because talking about our bowel movements and digestive problems can sometimes seem like a bit of a taboo topic, many people don’t realize that their digestion is compromised until more disruptive symptoms arise.
What are some of the signs and symptoms you can look out for to ensure you’re keeping your digestive system happy? Some common ones include:
A heavy, tired, or bloated feeling after meals
Feeling as though food “sits” in the stomach for a long time after eating
Belching/burping after meals
Undigested food in stools
While digestive issues are extremely common, there are also a lot of really simple, effective ways to improve digestion so that you can begin getting the most out of you food.
Here are my top 3 tips to improve your digestion, that you can start doing right now:
Chew your food. I mean really chew your food. This is something I always have to be conscious of, and it’s one of the most important things you can do for your digestion. Many people notice drastic improvements in their digestion by simply implementing this tip! Chew your food until it is liquid. When drinking liquid foods like smoothies and soups, chew these too! Not only does chewing break food down into smaller pieces, it also mixes the food with enzymes in your saliva that can digest carbohydrates all on their own! The act of chewing also stimulates stomach secretions and prepares the rest of the digestive tract for good digestion.
Slow down and focus. We live in a busy world with a lot of doing and not a lot of just being. Sometimes this means that we “multitask” by eating a quick lunch while going over things at work, or gulping down breakfast while driving in traffic. Or, we look for distractions while eating like watching T.V. We sometimes need to slooooww down and just focus on the important task at hand – nourishing our bodies. Set aside 20 minutes to eat. Take five slow, deep breaths. This is going to shift your body into parasympathetic nervous system mode, in which it can effectively digest food. Avoid distractions during meal times, or listen to a podcast you enjoy if you need some gentle mind stimulation while still being able to focus on your meal.
Avoid cold drinks with meals. The stomach needs “heat” to do its job effectively. It is a highly acidic environment (as it should be!) and if the stomach is compromised, the rest of the digestive process is too. The common habit of having a cold glass of water with meals, or just too much of any liquid, can dilute stomach secretions and compromise digestion. Focus instead on hydrating in between meals, and have small sips of warm or room temperature drinks while eating. A happy stomach will make a world of difference in the digestive process!
Implementing these tips can really make a world of difference in your digestion and the best thing is that they are free! Start doing them now and your entire body will thank you!
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Ali is passionate about guiding her clients through whole foods and lifestyle changes to discover their most vibrant selves. To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about