To improve digestion we have to understand that what you eat is not solely responsible for poor digestion but also how you eat.
Your digestion is the process of breaking down food into nutrients for your body. If your digestion is not working you are at risk of many and varied issues from constipation and bloating to gallstones. Of course, the first line of defence is to eat a balanced wholefoods diet, however, this is not the whole story.
Gulping your food down at your desk, at the kitchen bench or in front of the TV is not good for your digestion. It is also important to take the time to chew properly, enjoy the food and take your time eating it. Doing this will not only prepare your body for proper digestion it will allow time for your body to know it is satiated and so preventing overeating.
For improved digestion:
Don’t wait until the tank is completely empty before you start eating. That is when the crazy is unleashed and we make bad decisions. We get to the point were ice cream, marshmallows, chocolate plus 4 slices of toast become our next meal. And of course, this is not high energy, a nutritious meal so the chances are that you will be hungry again only a short time after eating.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 2 is about the time the fuel light will come on. This is the ideal point to be thinking about and planning what you are going to eat.
But what about being full? If you start eating at a level 2 you stop eating at about level 7. As my mother used to say “Always leave the table still a little bit hungry.”
Don’t eat when you’re super tired, angry, upset or worried. Fatigue, negative emotions and stress impair proper digestion.
Water is wonderful for cleansing particles out of your system and moving food through the digestive system reducing the risk of bloating and constipation.
Drinking water with your meal is also another way to slow down the ‘eating’. Stopping and pausing to have a sip of water gives your digestion a chance to catch up.
Chew your food properly
Digestion begins in the mouth when the saliva starts to work on breaking it down. Give it time to start working.
If you are running out the door with a piece of toast shoved in your mouth a coffee in one hand, handbag and everything else in the other and you’re running for your bus there will be a stress response in your body which will release the hormone cortisol. When your body is stressed it can’t tell the difference between you running for your bus or you running from an angry lion. It redirects blood supply away from your gut to the legs and arms.
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve digestion and reduce constipation.
Try taking a walk after your meal to help everything move through.
Have both been shown to interfere with digestion and cause issues. Try to quit smoking and keep smoking to a minimum.
Try to make your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bed. This gives it time to digest and move through your system before you lie down and settle for the night.
To improve digestion how you eat is an easy place to start and your health will only thank you for it.
Let me know in the comments which of these tips you currently use or will implement into your daily routine.
Hi, I'm Jane. I'm the author of the janelamason.com blog. Hitting midlife and menopause can be challenging. I write these posts to highlight my own experience for other women to read about and to give tips that might help to make their path into this time of their lives a little smoother.