10 Tips for Better Digestion
For many of us, digestive distress has become a fact of life. But bloating, gas and indigestion aren’t inevitable and even though these ‘minor’ symptoms seem to be more of a nuisance than anything, poor digestion can impact many aspects of health, from nutritional deficiencies to allergies to acne. It’s estimated that up to 80% of our immune system is in our gut, so it’s really important we look after it! Try incorporating these tips to improve your digestive health.
- Chew your food really well. Digestion starts in the mouth, both by physically breaking down food and by triggering the production of digestive juices.
- Avoid eating when rushed or stressed.
- Avoid drinking too many liquids with meals, which dilutes digestive juices
- Drink plenty of pure water, peppermint, ginger and licorice root tea between meals to help repair the mucosal lining (avoid licorice root if you have high blood pressure)
- Eat probiotic foods like raw (homemade or traditionally made) sauerkraut and kombucha, or take a good quality probiotic supplement.
- If you have signs of an underactive stomach, like bloating and indigestion, try an HCl supplement with your larger meals.
- Avoid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) (but obviously don’t discontinue prescription medications without talking to your doctor). Work on preventing the need for NSAIDs through diet and lifestyle changes, and explore other options for temporary pain relief.
- Avoid processed foods, added sugar and refined grains, which can disrupt the balance of intestinal flora.
- Get some soluble fibre daily, through starchy veggies like squashes, sweet potatoes, plantains and avocados.
- Reduce stress, which can have a huge impact on digestion. Ever get that “brick in your stomach” feeling when you’re stressed out? That’s because under stress your body goes into “fight or flight” mode and shuts down digestion to focus on survival.
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net