Digestion is one of the things that suffer the most when we are stressed, sick, or simply not taking care of ourselves. Proper digestion is critical for good health, and while we all eat food that we know isn’t great for our digestive system now and then, even then there are a couple of simple things we can to do help out digestion out. In today’s video, I’m talking about just that – 3 simple steps to improving your digestion:
For those of you who are unable to watch the video right now, keep on scrolling as I briefly go over what’s mentioned in the video below.
3 Simple Steps To Improving Your Digestion
Take a (couple) breathes
Seems too simple to be true, doesn’t it? But it’s not. The incredibly simple (and fast) act of stopping to take 2-3 deep breaths before eating can improve your digestion. We are a stressed-out population. Always running from one thing to the next. Cramming food in our face at your desks, in the car or while standing at the counter. When we eat in a stressed/rushed/panicked state we are stuck in our sympathetic nervous system – our “fight or flight”. And guess what? When your body is prepping for whatever stressor you have to come (remember, it has no idea if you are stressed about a phone call, or because you are hanging off a cliff), it can’t be worried about digesting food. That is a function that is controlled by your parasympathetic nervous system.
Stressed and slamming food in your gob? Don’t expect your digestive system to be working all that well. Take a moment to breathe and calm down – then your body can shift over and digestion can happen as it is should.
Just breathing. Who knew it could solve so many problems!?
Don’t drown your food
I am always asking people to drink more water, but right now I’m telling you not to. More specifically, don’t drink a lot of water or other liquids while eating. Especially cold beverages. Cold beverages shut off the flow of hydrochloric acid in our stomach, and that acid is essential for breaking down food and starting the digestive process.
This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to drink while you eat, go ahead and have a glass of water or your favourite beverage with your meal, but instead of guzzling it, take small sips. And if you can drink your meal beverage at room temperature – that’s even better.
The same thing happens if you drink a lot before or right after you eat. The flow of acid gets cut off and your ability to digest your food properly really takes a hit. The best bet is drinking the bulk of your beverages during non-meal times. And remember – it’s the cold beverages that really mess things us, drinking a room temperature or warm beverage doesn’t have as much of a negative effect.
Mind your bacteria
If the bacteria in your gut weighs about 5 lbs, you’re going to want to ensure that the bulk of it is healthy bacteria and that you are feeding it and keeping it in check. You can do that by consuming fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, etc. Or by taking a supplement. I like the renew life probiotics but there are lots of options out there.
For reference, here are some other articles I wrote about probiotics and incorporating them into your diet: