6 Quick Tricks to Achieve Better Digestion
It’s safe to say that gut health is the talk of the town. Probiotics, microflora, and lemon water are saturating the internet – for a good reason. We’ve discovered our microbiome outnumbers our DNA and us nutritionists are listening. Boosting our gut health is beyond health fads and finding a permanent parking spot in the medical community. No matter where you are in your health journey working towards better digestion is the name of the game. There are many ways to increase our digestive functions and soothe the GI tract. Here are some of my top tips to move towards better digestion.
Fiber + Water
These are equally deserving of their own categories, however, I chose to talk about them together because one without the other will make for crappy poops. Too much water and too little fiber (think extensive juice cleansing) will result in softer, and loose stool. Fiber is incredibly important for bulking stool, moving food through the digestive tract, and feeding the bacteria in our colon. Too much fiber and too little water will result in major constipation. Do you get why fiber and water are friends? Drink water away from meals. If you have to have a sip or two while eating try to keep the liquid intake to less than a cup. Drinking too much water with your food can dilute stomach acid and decrease the pH. This can result in acid reflux or other uncomfortable digestive issues.
Probiotics and prebiotics are essentially foods or supplements that already have a proliferating bacteria culture. Try: kefir, kombucha, tempeh, natto miso, kimchi, or sauerkraut. Pick a probiotic for fun and try working it into one meal a day. Even if it’s only a couple of scoops of sauerkraut your belly will thank you.
If you want to up the ante then bitters are for you, babe. No mixed drinks here, just some astringent, lip puckering extracts that will make your tongue water. Put a drop or two directly on your tongue 15 minutes before your meal. Your whole digestive system will start to kick into gear before the food hits your plate. Feel like extracts are a little too far? Start with adding some bitter greens into a salad mix or shove them into your breakfast sandwich.
I understand it’s literally impossible for most of us to sit and enjoy any meal for an hour. I feel incredibly accomplished when I’m able to pack a homemade meal for lunch instead of running to the closest bagel stand for a quick bite. The simple fact it: stress affects our digestion. It’s important to sit and take a breather before diving into what should be a restful time to recharge. Meals should be enjoyed as a pleasurable experience instead of the moments between errands and answering e-mails. Call me crazy – but I think you can do it. Take two minutes and practice your breathing. Then look away from the screen and chew your food.
Chew Your Food
Because I know you skipped over that last sentence with a major eye roll. Our digestive system has a chain of events that occurs and it starts in your head the moment you’re hungry. The act of chewing releases salivary amylase. This is the first enzymatic secretion in the digestive process. Slowly chewing your food will allow your digestive system to catch up and stimulate the digestive process.
I’m not going to be militant about this because I’m not great at following it. I can’t practice what I preach on this one. If you’ve tried out all the above steps and you are still having digestive issues then I would suggest taking a look at food combining.
Better Digestion in a Nutshell
Eat whole foods that are alive and nutritious. Fiber is your friend and water is its lover. Enjoy your meal and chew with intention. Toss some probiotics in here and there and scatter your salad with some bitter greens. Try not to stress and remember this meal is nourishing your body. Don’t worry about food combining too much because you already screwed up when you added protein powder in your citrus smoothie.
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