The health of your body relies on the digestive system being able to efficiently breakdown and absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Many health issues can arise when your digestive system is not functioning optimally, as even though you may be consuming the nutrients you need, you may not be digesting and absorbing them effectively. I have shared with you my top tips for great digestion.
Digestion starts in the mouth, and it is the only place in which you can mechanically break food down. Your stomach relies on your mouth and teeth to breakdown the food into small pieces so that the digestive juices can then work more effectively. If food enters the gut in large pieces it takes much longer to breakdown and can result in bloating and the production of gas. Try to chew food 20-25 times before swallowing.
Try to eat slowly and mindfully. Don’t eat while checking out the latest Instagram posts, watching TV or even reading a book, as this can cause you to eat more than you need to. Focus on the taste of your food and enjoy every mouthful rather than absent-mindedly gobbling it all down. When we eat distracted we are far more likely to over-eat, and then feel uncomfortably full. Try to put your knife and fork down after each bite, this slows you down and allows you to focus on your meal.
Prep your stomach
Sometimes your stomach can do with a helping hand to get stomach acid production going. Stomach acid is needed to digest proteins in the food, and break food down into small fragments. Many people do not make enough stomach acid, and this is often the reason behind bloating and gas. Trial the addition of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar before each meal for 4 weeks, and notice the difference to bloating and gas post meals. Two tablespoons of ACV, or the juice of half a lemon in ¼ cup of water is sufficient. It is also a good idea to avoid drinking water before or during your meal, as this can further dilute your stomach acid.
Our bowels are not something we usually talk about amongst our friends, or even our families, and many people don’t know that they should in fact be using them at least once a day. For many people it is perfectly common for them to only do ‘number twos’ every few days, while this is common, it is not normal. Our bowel is our may way to excrete waste from the body, when waste sits in the colon too long unwanted substances are reabsorbed, causing a host of problems including headaches, acne, fatigue and constipation. Eating a diet high in fibre and consuming lots of fluids each day is important to help with efficient elimination. High fibre foods include; fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Feed the good bugs
Gut bacteria has a massive influence on the health of the body. Each person has about 1kg of bacteria living inside their gut, ideally we want to have 85% good bacteria to about 15% bad bacteria. Gut bacteria is responsible for the digestion of some types of carbohydrates that the human body is not equipped to digest itself. The bacteria metabolise the carbohydrates into short chain fatty acids which the body can then use for energy. Gut bacteria also produces some B vitamins and most of the vitamin K needed by the body. A lack of helpful gut bacteria can lead to an over growth of bad bacteria, when this happens the gut walls start to become damaged causing a cascade of health issues. Be sure to feed your gut with the addition of foods like; kiefer, sauerkraut, natural yoghurt, and kombucha.