Digestion is a complex process that we could not live without. From what I see in clinic, it is evident that we rely on our digestive system to just do all the work, while in turn it needs a little support from us too. That is why I have compiled my top tips for digestion. These days food is so readily available with a growing abundance of fast food outlets, Uber eats, Deliveroo, frozen ready made meals – we can access food easily and while on the go, often taking our thoughts away from the ritual of eating.
Change your scene
Get up and go somewhere else to eat if you have been sitting all day – particularly important if you have a desk job.
Engage your body
Before you eat, really think about what you are about to eat. Think of the taste, the smell, how it looks. Close your eyes right now and think of something delicious you’d like to eat – it can be anything. Do you start to salivate? This is the beginning of the release of your digestive enzyme cascade. Engaging the mind to the body like this will encourage and stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to break down your food.
Check your emotions
Are you stressed? Upset? Are you eating to supress an emotion or fill a void? We need to make sure we are eating for the right reasons and at the right time. There is a big connection from the gut to the brain so eating when stressed or super emotional can encourage digestive discomfort, bloating and cramping.
Chew your food properly
Chewing your food is important. Seems basic but how easily do we shovel more food into our mouths without chewing the previous mouthful properly? People chew around 10 times per mouthful, but we should be chewing up to 30 times! Our teeth are there to mechanically digest our food by breaking it into smaller particles for us before we swallow. This creates physically smaller particles to be digested in our stomachs, especially for protein.
Balance your plate
Make sure that your plate has a balance of protein, fats and complex carbohydrates on it. For a general rule try visually to achieve ¼ protein, ¼ complex carbs and ½ vegetables and/or salad greens. Allow for 1-2tbsp of fats. This will provide you with a balanced meal to leave you feeling full and satisfied. Protein and fat is important for keeping you feeling full and then the veggies and carbs will provide fibre which will also aid satiety and help keep your bowels regular.
Examples of complex carbs are whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, barley, brown or basmati rice and sweet potato.
Still having trouble?
Putting up with constant digestive issues isn’t necessary! Nutrient deficiencies, food intolerances, IBS and inflammatory bowel conditions can lead to bloating, reflux, indigestion, and changes in your bowel habits. Clinical naturopathy uses traditional and evidence based medicine to help improve your digestive capacity.
Follow these top tips for digestion, and if you need further support then please contact Gigi to find out more.