In Part 1 I talked about what some of the drivers of digestive discomfort can be...but I know you really want to know what to do about it, right?
What are the foundations to healthy digestion?
Let’s go over some simple foundational practices that you can do to look after your digestive health.
Digestion starts even before you sit down to eat
Did you notice I said sit down? To improve our digestion we must prepare our body to eat and that means getting into our parasympathetic nervous system: our rest, digest and restore. Mindful eating means sitting down to eat (& not scrolling our phones too!), 3 deep belly breaths is a great way to signal to the body “I’m ready to eat, digest my food and absorb all those wonderful nutrients”.
Chew your food properly
Actual digestion starts in the mouth, both from the chewing action of breaking down food but also the enzymes that are present in our saliva; amylase which breaks down starches and lingual lipase which breaks down fats.
Having good stomach acid
This helps to break down our food even more into their building blocks. For example; protein gets broken down into amino acids. Have poor gastric juices or stomach acid means you may have bits of undigested food in your stool and this tells us you are not absorbing the nutrients from the food. You may also experience heartburn or reflux.
No drinks with your meal
When you drink liquid when eating your meal you are diluting that stomach acid which in turn may mean you’re not digesting your food well, and this leads to digestive discomfort.
Drink your water between meals and not within 20 minutes before or after.
Apple cider vinegar
Try a ½ teaspoon or up to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water 20 minutes before eating is a natural but effective digestive aid. It also helps to stimulate bile from the liver.
Reducing caffeine and alcohol
This can be hugely beneficial to our digestion. Alcohol can really affect our microbiome plus put extra stress on our liver. Caffeine tends to speed up our metabolism and sometimes creates a faster transit time which means your not absorbing your nutrients.
Eating a wholefood diet
With an emphasis on plant food; vegetables, fruit, legumes plus healthy fats and wholegrains plus clean sources of protein. Fibre from our veges, beans and fruit keep our bowels moving which keeps our gastrointestinal tract healthy. If certain fibres give you digestive discomfort then we need to talk! Adding in fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and miso help to feed our microbiome to keep us healthy.
Such as walking, yoga, Pilates and stress reduction are also helpful to keep the bowels regular and reduce your digestive discomfort. It also stimulates the Vagus Nerve which connects the gut to the brain, which is vitally important.
Why is this important?
Gut health has far-reaching implications in the body; from immune health to mental health, not to mention the break down and absorption of our fuel source; food, without the digestive discomfort.
When the gut utilizes our food well it means we have all the building blocks to create our hormones, repair our tissues, send chemical messages throughout the body as well as detox our waste effectively.
This means we have energy, optimal wellness and a balance mood to go out and enjoy our life and achieve all the wonderful things we want.
If you feel like you are doing all the foundational steps we listed above and you are still having symptoms please contact your doctor or naturopath for some specialised guidance, it will make all the difference!
I offer a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call if you'd like to chat about your situation and to see if we are a fit. Book here