Proper digestion is essential to good health but most of us have digestive systems that are working far below optimal. Here are a few of the simplest ways to improve digestion.
Many people taking supplements are actually gaining little to no benefit from the nutrients supplied by them!
The reason for this is simple. If your digestive system is not working properly, you aren’t absorbing your food and nutrients well.
Unfortunately, most of us have digestive systems that could be working better.
Consider the following questions:
- Do you feel bloated after meals?
- Do you get heartburn or reflux?
- Do you experience gas, loose stools or constipation on a fairly regular basis?
- Do you often notice undigested food particles in your stools?
- Do you have less than two to three well-formed bowel movements everyday?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it is extremely likely that your digestive system is not working like it should be.
If that is the case, then whenever you take a supplement, especially one that is not food-based, you are wasting your money.
Seven tips to improve digestion
1. Eat appropriate quantities
This may seem obvious, but some people just don’t realise that they are overeating on a regular basis. I usually recommend that people take a slightly smaller portion than they normally would and wait for 10 minutes after finishing it before going back for seconds. Usually they find they don’t need them.
2. Chew your food
Another seemingly obvious one that is very commonly overlooked. At your next meal, try chewing each bite 20-30 times (an optimal amount for good digestion). You will quickly realise how little you chewed before. I get plenty of abuse for how slow I eat, so I might take it too far, but, chew your soup and drink your sandwich, would be a good motto to live by.
3. Avoid eating on the run or if you are emotionally upset in any way.
The effects that stress has on your digestive system cannot be overstated. In fact, for a majority of young and middle-aged people, this is often the number one cause of poor digestion.
4. Ensure adequate secretion of your digestive juices.
Eating regular meals containing protein, chewing your food well, and eating bitter tasting foods at the beginning of your meal will help stimulate the secretion of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile salts, both of which are necessary for good digestion. You may also want to consider drinking a glass of water with a little apple cider vinegar in it five to 10 minutes before you eat.
5. Eat your veggies
Vegetables can provide you with all the fibre you need to help improve bowel function. Another excellent choice for increasing your fibre intake is freshly ground flax seeds. Usually, two to three tablespoons mixed in a smoothie or sprinkled on your food will suffice. Eat your vegetables raw or very lightly steamed to maximise the enzymes that help you digest them properly.
6. Make sure you eat your bugs
Regular consumption of beneficial bacteria is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The best way to do so is by consuming fermented foods or drinks on a daily basis.
7. Exercise, exercise, exercise
Daily movement is essential for proper bowel function and also helps relieve the stress that can wreak havoc on your digestion.
As you can see, it’s not difficult to improve digestion but you do need to be mindful of what’s happening inside your body and make the necessary changes to your lifestyle.
Image: Ava Sol