Improving your digestion is a great place to start when thinking about improving your health. Many symptoms including bloating, abdominal pains and irregularity are often considered normal, when they are actually a sign of poor digestion. Many health conditions including: cold and flu, depression, fatigue, headaches, autoimmune diseases, food and seasonal allergies are improved - and sometimes resolved - by improving your digestion.
Many health experts suggest that approximately 70 - 80% of your immune system is located within your digestive system. To ensure your digestion and gut are both happy, healthy and working effectively; try these tips.
Tips To Improve Your Digestion
- Combine your food well and fill your diet with whole foods. Try to avoid processed, packaged, sugar and refined foods, as they will negatively affect your gut flora and optimal digestion. Each meal should include an abundance of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and good carbohydrates.
- Avoid drinking fluids with your meals, as fluids will dilute your own digestive enzymes and stomach acid.
- Chew, chew, chew! Chewing your food at least 20 times or more releases very important digestive enzymes which start breaking down food.
- Eat only when you are relaxed. Stress has a negative impact on your digestion. Sit down, relax and mindfully enjoy your food. Try to avoid working, sitting at your desk or watching television while you are eating. Before eating, take a few deep diaphragm breaths to calm your nervous system so your body is relaxed and able to focus only on digesting your food.
- Increase dietary fibre to maintain bowel regularity, reduce constipation, stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and aid digestion. Include a mix of insoluble and soluble fibre. Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water and isn’t broken down by the gut. It is found in foods such as nuts, fruits (skins on), vegetables(skins on) and seeds. Soluble fibre is soft, absorbs water to form a gel-like substance inside the digestive system. It is found in foods such as beans, peas, oats, avocados and some fruits.
- Eat a good supply of fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Your digestion will also benefit from taking a good quality supplement full of digestive enzymes. Other foods to add to your diet to improve your digestion include: natural yoghurt, cottage cheese, pickles, miso, tofu, natto, tempeh, tamarin, rye or wheat sourdough bread.
- Avoid foods which may amplify your stress response and exacerbate your symptoms of digestion. These foods include: caffeine (coffee, teas, chocolate, sports drinks), alcohol, processed salt, white bread, white rice and white pasta.
- Check for any food allergies or intolerances and remove them from your diet.
- Cleanse regularly to reset your entire digestive system. Some research suggests that including aloe vera into your daily routine may help ease digestive issues, strengthen your immune system, reduce physical fatigue and assist with internal cleansing.
- Exercising regularly every day may help avoid digestive conditions such as constipation, bloating, cramps and gas. There are many yoga postures, especially twisting poses, which increase blood flow to the bowels, reduce inflammation and strengthen the intestines.
As well as these ten tips, also add bone broth to your diet. Bone broth is considered to be an incredibly nutrient dense food, full of minerals and gut soothing gelatin and amino acids. Make your own bone broth and enjoy regularly.
Written by Nic Makim
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.