If you’re feeling any of these things after eating a meal (even a healthy one!), that is communication from your body that something is going on with your digestion. (Our bodies are talking to us all time, and it’s up to us to listen.) Healthy digestion is essential to living well and maximizing your nutritional intake. Poor digestion doesn’t just make life a little uncomfortable, it can also be responsible for causing a huge number of chronic issues, including inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers and Crohn’s disease.
Scary stuff, yes, but the good news is that focusing on your food and lifestyle can place healthy digestion within reach. Here, our top tips for healthy digestion
1. Slow down. In our increasingly busy society, so many of us grab a quick bite or scarf down our food at our desk before our next meeting. I hate to break it to you, but, for good digestion, you need to slow it down. The reason for this is that eating quickly doesn’t allow us to chew our food properly. And if you’re not breaking down your food correctly, it puts added strain to an overworked digestive tract. So, put down the fork and take your time when eating your meals. Chew thoroughly & completely. Remember what your mom used to say and chew 20 times before swallowing.
2. Focus on whole foods. Whole, unprocessed foods like whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans and vegetables are the wonderfoods of digestion because of their high fiber content. Fiber keeps your digestive system running smoothly, so make sure you include loads of unprocessed foods in your diet to crowd out those processed ones.
3. Silence is bliss. If you struggle to slow down when you eat, try transforming it into a silent meditative practice. You won’t believe how good it will make you feel to eat in silence, without the nonstop chatter than often is a part of meal time. Eating in silence will not only help you digest your food properly, but you’ll also taste every bite and be fully present to really enjoy your meal.
4. Rule out food allergies. Food allergies or sensitivities are a quite common cause of poor digestion. Try eliminating foods that you think you are allergic to, like dairy, grains and gluten, and see if you notice any positive improvements to your digestion. A great place to get started is with an elimination diet through a whole food cleanse program. (We find 12-Days to Sexy to be an easy cleanse you can complete in the comfort of your own home.)
5. Take a digestive enzyme. You’re eating the right foods, chewing them in silence, but still not feeling any better? Try taking a digestive enzyme with your meals. Digestive enzymes aid in the breakdown of the foods you are eating, turning them into nutrients that the body needs and can readily absorb.
6. Rest, rest, rest! Surprising fact: Resting is a big part of the digestive process, and this doesn’t mean just sleeping. Reading, walking or listening to music all count towards the rest and relaxation process that will boost your digestion and your health.
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