One of the most important body systems for maintaining our health and well being is our digestive system. Sadly, most people’s diets leave a lot to be desired, and as a result not many of us have a digestive tract in optimum condition. There are many ways to improve the performance of your digestive tract. I like to do a detox at least once or twice a year. (I’ll go into that a bit more over the next couple of weeks). The problem with a detox is that your health really should be quite robust before embarking on it, as a proper detox takes quite a bit of energy. So if you’re feeling run down, with low energy levels and a weak immune system, a detox really is not a good idea. There are however a number of easy steps you can take to improve your digestion, and if you implement these you will be rewarded with a more efficient digestive process, higher energy levels and better health :-
Top Tips to Improve Your Digestion
- • Before each meal drink half a glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, this will stimulate the production of gastric juices which in turn will improve the breakdown of your food.
• Try to incorporate a range of all flavours in each meal (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent). Each of these flavours has its own effect on the secretions of digestive juices.
• Chew your food well. Chewing produces saliva which kick starts the breakdown of especially carbohydrates and fats. The longer you chew, the better your digestion will be.
• Pay attention to your food, don’t wolf your dinner down in front of the TV. Chew well, and when you do your first burp, be aware that this is a sign of your body indicating it is ready to stop eating.
• Don’t drink a lot of fluids while eating your meal. Fluids dilute your digestive juices, reducing their effectiveness in breaking down your food.
• Improve the digestion of nuts and seeds by soaking them in water overnight before eating them.
• Eat as many whole foods as possible. Brown rice instead of white for instance. The outer shell of many grains contains the nutrients and minerals your body needs to break these foods down properly. This also helps in the regulation of blood sugars and thus in energy levels experienced during the day.
• Eating properly fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, unsweetened yoghurt, kefir, tamari and tempeh increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria in the bowel, and through this enable your body to keep harmful bacteria in the bowel under control.
• If you regularly feel bloated, cramped, tired or mucousy after eating, try to identify if there is one specific food type involved. These symptoms are messages from your body telling you that something in your diet is not agreeing with you.
• Make sure you get about 30 minutes exercise every day, even just going for a brisk walk will do. Exercise improves your circulation to your digestive system, thus making digestion more effective. It also improves the muscle tone of your body and stimulates the peristaltic movement of your intestines and bowels, making it easier to pass stools.
NB: This information is not intended to replace the advice of your health professional, if symptoms persist please consult your health professional