Best Ways to Improve Your Digestion Naturally
The way you chose to live your life and your choice of foods can affect the way your body digests what you eat. Drinking water, adding fiber and exercising contribute to improving digestive health.
Your digestive system breaks down the food you eat into the nutrients your body needs. If you neglect your digestive health, your body may have trouble absorbing those nutrients.
We all experience occasional digestive symptoms, such as upset stomach, gas, heartburn, nausea, constipation or diarrhea.
However, when these symptoms occur frequently, they can cause important disorders in your life.
Fortunately, changes in diet and lifestyle can have a positive impact on your intestinal health.
Here are the best ways to improve your digestion naturally.
1. Stay hydrated, but stop chugging water around meals.
One of the most common tips of the diet culture to eat less is to drink tons of water just before a meal. It’s supposed to fill your stomach to the point where you need less food. If you could only see how much I’m rolling my eyes as I write this.
While water consumption is clearly an important part of overall health and a very important part in digestion, you will not want to be drinking tons of water around meals.
Water and soft drinks dilute the acid in your stomach and interfere with all the digestion liquids, which makes the decomposition of food difficult.
Instead of taking whole glasses of water with meals, consume small sips with meals and drink most of the water between meals.
2. Eat Real Food
The typical Western diet – high in refined carbs, saturated fat and food additives – has been linked to an increased risk of developing digestive disorders.
Food additives, including glucose, salt, and other chemicals, have been suggested to contribute to increased gut inflammation, leading to a condition called leaky gut.
Trans fats are found in many processed foods. They are well-known for their negative effects on heart, but have been associated with an increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.
What’s more, foods like low-calorie drinks and ice creams often contain artificial sweeteners, which may cause digestive problems.
A study found that eating 50 grams of the artificial sweetener xylitol led to bloating and diarrhea in 70% of people, while 75 grams of the sweetener erythritol caused the same symptoms in 60% of people.
A study have also shown that artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols decrease the number of healthy gut bacteria and increase the number of harmful gut bacteria.
Gut bacteria imbalances have been linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and irritable bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Fortunately, scientific evidence suggests that diets high in nutrients protect against digestive diseases.
Therefore, eating a diet based on whole foods and limiting the intake of processed foods may be best for optimal digestion.
3. Chew your food
That sounds crazy, I know, but it’s so effective and necessary. Your stomach has no teeth, and there is a reason why we have teeth!
Digestion starts in your mouth. Your teeth break the food into smaller pieces so that the enzymes in your digestive tract can break it down better.
Our stomach acid and our digestive enzymes can only do a lot to break down our food. We need to do the work to really break down our food as much as possible in our mouth so we can digest it correctly!
When I first learned this advice, I literally counted my bites. I started with 5-10 or less and worked my way up comfortably chewing my bites 30 times. It was difficult, but it makes a big difference!
Poor mastication has been linked to less absorption of nutrients.
When you chew your food well, your stomach has to do less work to convert solid food into the liquid mixture that enters your small intestine.
Chewing produces saliva, and the longer you chew, the more saliva it produces. Saliva helps start the digestive process in the mouth by breaking down some of the carbohydrates and fats in your food.
In your stomach, the saliva acts like a liquid, which is mixed with the solid food so that it passes gently into your intestines.
Chewing food well ensures that you have plenty of saliva for digestion. This can help prevent symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn.
In addition, it has been shown that the act of chewing reduces stress, which can also improve digestion.
4. Focus on three balanced meals rather than tons of snacks.
Another tip of the diet culture is to eat many small meals throughout the day to “keep your metabolism running”. Another visual effect is that it never gives your body a chance to fully digest.
We need to give our body time to rest and digest our meals instead of constantly eating every hour.
That does not mean that sandwiches are the end of the world. If you are legitimately hungry, you should be eating. However, focus on getting most of your food instead of picnicking all day.
5. Balance your meals to feature healthy fats, properly raised protein, and vegetable based carbs.
In order to digest correctly, we need to balance our meals to include … vegetable fiber, healthy fats and properly produced proteins. Too many extreme diets try to reduce or severely limit or highlight these three, but in reality, they need to be balanced to support proper digestion. So, what are they all for?
VEGETABLE BASED CARDS:
Benefits for digestion:
- Provide the necessary fiber to digest and eliminate food.
- Feed our good intestinal bacteria.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
PROTEIN INCREASED CORRECTLY:
Benefits for digestion:
- Provide the minerals necessary to support the proper production of stomach acids.
- Beef fed with grass, lamb or bison
- Chicken or turkey grass
Benefits for digestion:
- Provide building blocks to produce healthy bile
- Keeps our gallbladder functioning properly.
- It helps the absorption of nutrients.
- Fatty fish
- Olive oil
- Healthy animal fats
6. Eat Plenty of Fiber
It is common knowledge that fiber is beneficial for good digestion.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps add bulk to the stool. Insoluble fiber acts like a giant toothbrush, helping your digestive tract keep everything moving.
Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while vegetables, whole grains and wheat bran are good sources of insoluble fiber.
A diet rich in fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of digestive conditions, such as ulcers, reflux, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and IBS.
Prebiotics are another type of fiber that feeds your healthy intestinal bacteria. It has been shown that diets rich in this fiber reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Prebiotics are found in many fruits, vegetables and grains.
7. Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet
Good digestion may require eating enough fat. Fat helps you feel satisfied after a meal and is often needed for proper absorption of nutrients.
It also keeps food moving smoothly through your digestive tract. Interestingly, it has been shown that increasing the consumption of fat relieves constipation.
If you experience frequent constipation, adding more fat to your diet can help you get some relief.
In addition, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can lower your risk of developing inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Foods rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts (especially nuts) and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your digestion.
Exercise help food travel through your digestive system. Therefore, walking after a meal can help your body move things.
Regular exercise can also be beneficial for your digestion.
A study in healthy people showed that moderate exercise, such as riding a bicycle and jogging, increased intestinal transit time by almost 30%.
In another study in people with chronic constipation, a daily exercise regimen that includes 30 minutes of walking significantly improved symptoms.
In addition, a study suggests that exercise may reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases due to anti-inflammatory effects, such as the decrease of inflammatory compounds in your body.
9. Slow Down and Listen to Your Body
When you are not paying attention to your hunger and fullness signals, it is easy to overeat and experience gas, bloating and indigestion.
It is a common belief that your brain takes 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full.
While there is not much hard science to support this claim, it takes time for the hormones released by your stomach in response to food to reach your brain.
Therefore, taking the time to eat slowly and pay attention to how full you are filling is a way to prevent common digestive problems.
Also, eating emotionally negatively affects your digestion. In one study, people who ate when they were anxious experienced higher levels of indigestion and abdominal distension.
Taking the time to relax before a meal can improve your digestive symptoms.
10. Manage your stress.
Stress not only wreaks havoc on your mind; It can get dirty with your digestion! There are many ways to reduce stress and I recommend that you give yourself permission to discover what types of relaxing activities are best for you.
I discovered that gentle activities such as meditation, breathing, yoga, walking, and napping really helped me reduce my stress levels.
Bonus Tip: Supplement when necessary.
Many people avoid supplementation because they think it is unnatural. When really, we could all benefit from some support here and there.
Most of my clients that I put in supplements only take them for a short period of time to allow their body to rebalance, and then disconnect them. There is no shame in supplementation and it is not a life sentence.
One of the supplements I often recommend is a Betaine HCL with pepsin to support the production of stomach acid. This is particularly useful in the digestion of proteins and is a necessary precursor for all digestion.
Another supplement I recommend is a good digestive enzyme that can be particularly useful for carbohydrate consumption, but it can be useful throughout the digestion in general.
When necessary, I also bring a support of bile or ox bile if someone is struggling with the digestion of fats or the gallbladder has been removed. I tend to see amazing results in doing this, especially in me!
There are many factors that simply cannot be considered through the Internet for a wide audience.