5 Simple Ways To Improve Digestion
Proper digestion system functioning is essential for the overall health of the body. No matter how many nourishing foods you eat on a daily basis, if your digestive system isn’t working right, you won’t be able to absorb all of the nutrients in your food.
Besides causing unpleasant symptoms like reflux, bloating, and constipation, poor digestion can also have more serious effects on the body. These can range from low energy and headaches to loss of muscle tone and weight gain.
A number of fairly common life circumstances can wreak havoc on your digestive system. If you’ve taken antibiotics multiple times throughout your life, if you live a high-stress lifestyle, or if your diet is high in refined carbs and sugar, chances are your gut could use a little TLC.
One of our goals is to help you improve your digestion through our anti inflammatory meals. The five tips below can also help with this.
1. Always eat in a relaxed state.
Sit down and try to avoid any distractions like your phone and the TV while eating. Try eating with a friend or loved one and making conversation.
Instead of standing in front of the fridge and eating out of a takeout container or tupperware, make yourself a plate and force yourself to take three deep breaths before you start eating.
Chewing slowly is also crucial. Digestion starts in the mouth. Enzymes in your saliva break down food, and chewing jump-starts the digestion process before food reaches your stomach.
2. Add fermented foods and beverages to your diet.
The bacteria in your gut impact how well you digest your food as well as the overall health of your gut. You can support your gut bacteria by eating foods such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, raw apple cider vinegar, and beet kvass. Drinking kombucha tea can also be helpful.
These all contain beneficial probiotics that promote a healthy balance of bacteria. If you choose to incorporate kombucha, make sure you’re sticking to teas with 6-7g of sugar or less per serving (many bottles contain two servings).
3. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber and enzymes.
Vegetables and fruits — especially when raw — are full of fiber and enzymes that support digestion.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that helps the body digest protein. Bromelain is also great for reducing inflammation.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that also helps the body digest protein. It’s often used as a meat tenderizer.
Mango contains an enzyme called amylase, which helps break down starches into simple sugars that your body can easily digest and absorb.
Asparagus contains glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme the body uses to create antioxidants, which are used to combat free radicals (compounds that damage cells and cause aging). Unfortunately, the cooking process destroys most of this enzyme.
Fruits and vegetables also contain prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your body and help to promote a healthy balance in the gut.
4. Include gut-nourishing foods in your diet.
Bone broth, coconut oil, egg yolks, organ meat, and grass-fed butter or ghee can all help to strengthen the lining of your gut. Keeping this lining strong is crucial because it serves as a barrier against large food particles and harmful bacteria.
Adding these foods to your diet is simple. Try cooking with coconut oil, grass-fed butter, or ghee. Consider eating eggs at other meals besides breakfast, and when you do eat them, eat both the yolks and the whites. Bone broth is easy to make and can be eaten on its own or as part of a soup.
5. Stay hydrated.
Digestion is a water dependent process, which means if you don’t drink enough water, you can end up with symptoms such as gas, constipation, and bloating after or between meals.
How much water do you need? A good place to start is drinking half of your bodyweight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would aim for drinking 75 ounces of water a day. We recommend adding 8 ounces of water on top of this for every dehydrating beverage — like coffee or tea — that you drink.