You can be eating the healthiest foods, but if your body isn’t properly breaking them down, you won’t be able to fully absorb and utilize those nutrients. That’s why supporting your digestion is so important to your overall health! While a bit of bloating is “normal” to an extent, if you’re constantly feeling swollen, uncomfortable or in pain, here are some things you can do to help improve your digestion:
-REDUCE STRESS. If you feel stressed, upset or anxious when you sit down to a meal, your digestive system won’t be working optimally. Eating when upset can certainly cause an “upset stomach.” Try your best to keep stress & worries away from the table. Take some deep breaths & express gratitude for your meal before you eat to help get your body in a relaxed “rest & digest” mode.
-EAT SLOWLY & CHEW WELL. Digestion begins in the mouth and chewing well helps aid the process. Chewing releases saliva which contains enzymes that assist in breaking down food, and by chewing well, you are making the food more easily digestible, alleviating some of the breakdown work from the stomach.
-ADDRESS FOOD INTOLERANCES. Unlike a food allergy which will produce an immediate reaction upon consumption (ie: hives), food intolerances have a delayed response anywhere from 3 hours up to 3 days after the food is eaten. This makes it more difficult to pinpoint which food is causing you distress. If you suspect you have a food intolerance, try eliminating one food at a time and keep track of your symptoms. You can start by testing the most common culprits: dairy, gluten, corn, soy & eggs.
–GUT HEALTH. Keep your gut happy by incorporating Probiotic & Prebiotic foods into your diet:
~Probiotic: kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, kefir
~Prebiotic foods: apple, onions, leeks, jicama, asparagus
–FIBER. Veggies, fruits, lentils, chia seeds, etc. are all healthy sources of fiber, but too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. Aim to get enough fiber, but not too much where you feel uncomfortable. This is very individual, so make adjustments to your fiber intake to find a balance that works for you. PS. cooking your veggies as opposed to eating them raw makes them easier to digest.
–AVOID SUGAR ALCOHOLS. Erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, etc. (basically anything ending in -ol) can greek havoc on the gut! A lot of foods marketed as “healthy” contain these ingredients, so READ the labels of the foods you are buying.
If you’ve tried the above and are still struggling with your digestion, you can consider taking a digestive enzyme supplement or drinking some apple cider vinegar mixed in water before meals.
Need immediate relief?
Upset stomach – drink peppermint tea
Nausea -drink ginger tea
Acid reflux – drink aloe vera juice