Proper digestion is the key to good health. Improving digestion usually has a positive impact on most other health conditions in the body. These are 5 simple and quick tricks (plus 2 supplements) that can really make a big difference in digestion, overall health and the way you feel after eating a meal. So, try these easy steps, and I bet you will see an improvement in the way you feel!
#1 CHEW YOUR FOOD — Make the offer to chew every-single-bite a lot more that you do right now. Eating more slowly and taking the time to chew will have a huge impact on bloating and gas, because carbohydrates are digested in the mouth (so you basically have to do all your carb digestion before even swallowing!)*. This has CHANGED my life, and how I feel on a daily basis. I noticed when I eat in a rush (you know, when you’re feel like you haven’t eaten in days, so you basically inhale your meal), that is when I feel so sick and bloated after.
*The bloating and gas is from the carbohydrates that were not fully digested in your mouth fermenting in your stomach while they are waiting for the protein to be digested.
#2 RELAX WHEN YOU’RE EATING — This is another tip that has made a huge difference for me. I (try my very best to) sit for every meal, eat and relax. Some mornings I will get up about 30 minutes earlier than I normally would have, make breakfast, and actually sit and eat it while I read or plan my day! This takes our body out of the stress mode when rushing to get ready for the day, and allows your energy to be put into digesting what you are eating (this is the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as ‘rest and digest’). And try not to eat on the go or in the car (I know, it’s awful but I am guilty of both of these)!
#3 MAKE EATING ENJOYABLE & be grateful — eat with friends, family and loved ones! Spend time enjoying what you are eating, so that it makes eating are more positive experience. And be grateful that we are able to eat what we are eating. By appreciating what you’re eating and really enjoying the taste of each bite, eating becomes something that you want to take time to do each day. Plus, if you are enjoying yourself, you are more relaxed (remember what we said above about stress and eating).
#4 DON’T EAT TOO MUCH AT ONE TIME — huge meals put a huge strain of the digestive system, and can cause a decrease in digestive enzymes, stomach acid efficiency and protein digestion. It is best to eat smaller meals more often. This will also help with weight control = always a bonus.
#5 BOOST STOMACH ACID — adding half of a juiced lemon to water: this will help to increase stomach acid, support your liver (which has so many functions in terms of digestion) and also will give you a boost of vitamin C. Drinking too much water before and during meals can actually be really difficult on digestion, because it lowers stomach acid (so that protein digestion is decreased, and believe me this can lead to a whole handful of issues — such as allergies, enzyme deficiencies & immunity problems). Another option is to add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to water, which will also help increase stomach acid. p.s. I am not saying don’t drink lot of water, because we all know water has SO many positive benefits, but just not right at meal time.
#1 PROBIOTICS — probiotics are supportive of the happy bugs in your intestines, and they not only help with digestion and breaking down foods, but they help to keep your digestive tract healthy and functioning properly. You can find probiotics at most health food stores, usually in the refrigeration section. You can also add organic sauerkraut or kombucha to your daily routine to get a good supply of friendly bacteria.
#2 DIGESTIVE ENZYMES — digestive enzymes help to break down food if your digestive system is under strain or isn’t working to it’s fullest ability. If you experience symptoms such as gas, bloating and other digestive issues when eating most foods, then it could be worth trying digestive enzymes. There are plant-based digestive enzymes or digestive enzymes that contain animal products. Additionally, if you have low stomach acid, there are digestive enzymes that contain HCl to aid further in digestion.