5 Tips to Improve Your Digestion & Health
Do you regularly have gas, bloating, bad breath, heartburn, or indigestion?
If any of those symptoms are regular for you, then you are not digesting your food well. This means that your body is not receiving the full nutrition of the foods you are attempting to feed it.
These are just the obvious immediate results of bad digestion. Long-term results include:
- Often sick
- Lack of energy
Your health is dependent on a healthy digestive system. Without a properly functioning digestive system, your health does not have the fuel to build a strong body. Our body needs food to create energy to feed its cells and to do all the bodily functions that keep us alive. Calories in food create energy or fuel for the body.
5 Ways to Improve Your Digestion
1. Chew Your Food Well
- Okay, this is going to sound like a lot, but it is best to chew our food 30 to 50 times each bite. That is not much when you know about what macrobiotics recommends: their rule is to chew each mouthful 100 times! In 1978, I went to a summer macrobiotic camp; all 30 of us would sit in a big circle all chewing for a long time for each meal. I found it very funny watching us being so intent on chewing.
- Chewing your food increases saliva and digestive enzymes and juices to digest your food. We can produce 2 gallons of saliva a day! When all of your food is digested well, the efficiency of the digestion will give you more nutrients to run your body. How can food that is in chunks be digested in your stomach? I am sure you must have noticed whole bits of foods in your stools. There are no teeth in your stomach or intestines, so put those teeth in your mouth to work!
“When engaged in eating, the brain should be the servant of the stomach.” ― Agatha Christie
Next page: More tips
2. Do Not Drink with Meals
Digestion begins as soon as food enters your mouth. The first part of digestion is chewing the food. Second, the chewing releases digestive enzymes into your saliva to digest the food. You do not want to be watering down those digestive enzymes with water. They are needed to digest your food. The exception to this is teas that specifically aid digestion, in small quantities.
When to drink:
- Drink liquids 1/2 – 1 hour before eating
- Do not drink while eating
- Wait 2 hours after you eat to drink
Remember: You still need to get in 6-10 cups of water per day, especially first thing in the morning. The amount is dependent on your size. What Do You Drink First Thing in the Morning?
3. Eat Foods That Do Not Compete
Our digestion requires acid or alkaline conditions as needed for certain types of food. If eating foods that don’t digest well or combine well together, then digestion is slowed or stopped, and elimination compromised. Food combining may seem complicated, but it can be simple. The whole point of this is to get more nutrition into your body in a way that the foods are not fighting with each other. With that in mind, let’s not fight with ourselves when it comes to the meal; if you eat what seems like a poorly combined meal and enjoy it, then do enjoy your meal, as that is the best place to be. When you improve your digestion by eating foods that mix well together, you will have more energy, fewer digestive problems, and you may lose weight.
Good Food-Combined Meals:
Breakfast: Fruit with soaked nuts and or seeds.
Lunch: Protein meal with salad or vegetables.
Dinner: Starch meal with vegetables or salad.
Bedtime: Fruit of any kind except banana.
Snacks: Piece of fruit or 1 ounce (not more) of nuts, any kind.
This is the place to start, and the details can be integrated later.
Next page: Do you eat on the run?
4. Keep Breathing Even When You Are Eating
Not only is it of vital importance your well-being, it is good for your digestive system. There are 70 million Americans suffering from digestive diseases that often could be helped by deep breathing.
“When you don’t get enough oxygen, your digestion become irregular and your body doesn’t get the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients it needs. This is why some of us always feel hungry. Our inefficient cells are constantly starved,” says Pam Grout in Jumpstart Your Metabolism: How To Lose Weight By Changing The Way You Breathe.
To enhance your wellness, take time for deep breathing every day! (See How Breathing Can Transform Your Life.)
5. Slow Down & Give Yourself Time to Eat
“There’s a friendly tie of some sort between music and eating.” ― Thomas Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree
- Digestive problems can often be remedied by eating smaller meals, eating slowly, and chewing food thoroughly, according to Maharishi Vedic University.
- Chew your food, taste your food, and enjoy each mouthful. Eat meals when relaxed; light a candle or play soothing music. Simply eat. No need to watch television, read a book, or be on the computer surfing the Internet. Just enjoy your food by eating one bite at a time.
Eat Slow to Lose Weight
“Heavier people eat faster than slim ones, and men chow down faster than women, two new studies find,” says Maureen Salamon at HealthDay. Studies confirm that by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories. It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to register that we’re full. When we eat fast, we easily eat past the point where we’re full. Slow down your eating to allow your brain to catch up with your belly. Doing this, you will consume fewer calories and feel more satisfied.