Most people understand the importance of having a healthy digestive system. It has, after all been referred to as the foundation of good health. However, it can seem overwhelming to know just where to start to make the necessary changes to improve your digestive health. Here are 5 easy ways to improve your digestion that you can start utilizing TODAY!
- Cook your meals – There are so many awesome benefits when you cook your own meals. First, you know what ingredients are being used. Cooking with high-quality ingredients, think organic, non-GMO, along with grass-fed meats, helps to provide your body with optimal nutrients while avoiding harmful pesticides, seed oils, and other gut disruptors. In addition, while you are preparing the meal, the act of cooking and the delicious aromas help to activate your digestive secretions.
- Say a blessing or gratitude before eating – Taking a moment before you eat to say a prayer or words of gratitude initiates the parasympathetic nervous system. What this does is set your body into its “rest & relax” state vs. the “fight or flight” state. This will help the body turn on those digestive fires (enzymes, HCl, gastric, & pancreatic juices) all needed for proper digestion.
- Chew your food well – This one can feel so tough to do sometimes. We all lead busy lives, and sometimes we’re scrambling just to get some type of nutrition in our bodies. Taking the time to slow down and chew our food well has a ton of benefits. Chewing helps to reduce the particle size of the food, mixes food thoroughly with saliva (which contains enzymes and starts the digestion process), and increases the surface area giving digestive enzymes more access to better break down the food. All this can help eliminate bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Another benefit that a lot of people don’t think about is that chewing is super important for helping people lose weight. Your body doesn’t figure out that it’s full until after a lag of about 20-30 minutes. Chewing well allows your body’s feeling of satiety to kick in to prevent you from overeating.
- Eat meat first – Meat can be difficult for our bodies to break down into something usable. The greatest amount of digestive enzymes is at the bottom of our stomachs. By eating meat first, it will be exposed to the greatest amount of enzymes, which will allow for easier digestion.
- Take digestive enzymes – Most adults over 40 (or even 30) start to produce less stomach acid, naturally, as part of aging. Low stomach acid can result in heartburn, belching or gas, fatigue, headaches, and more. Taking digestive enzymes at the beginning of your meal can help make up for those deficiencies. You can also boost your stomach acid by adding freshly-squeezed lemon juice to your water or drinking one tablespoon of raw fermented apple cider vinegar in water each morning.
Good digestion is paramount to optimizing your health and keeping your immune system in tip-top condition. Try out some or all of these tips to help alleviate your digestive distress. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had success using these techniques or what has worked for you. I’d love to hear from you!