Six Steps to Better Digestion
Is digestion critical to overall health? YES!
Our digestive tract is made up of cells that both feed us, communicate with us and remove toxins from us.
When your tummy is happy, you feel better. There is a direct relationship between healthy digestion and feeling well as well as being resistant to infections or seasonal stressors, or just being able to handle the challenges to daily life.
So yes, digestion (and the microbiome) is important. Most of us have been taking it for granted. We haven’t been nourishing our digestive tract and therefore it doesn’t nourish us as well, or as completely.
Healthy foods that feed healthy digestion crowds out the bad “bugs” in our digestion. We want to eat foods that we can digest, assimilate and eliminate without immune burden. Our brain sees the food which starts to tell the entire digestive tract to get ready for what’s coming!
I hear from my clients: “I eat a good diet. I make sure I eat a well-rounded diet. I don’t have to chew for much.”
It’s more than just what you eat. It’s how you eat and the habits you’ve developed around eating.
Here are six quick steps to better digestion:
✔ Eat fermented foods – Eat fermented foods consistently! Our microbiome needs to be replenished every day, not just a few times a week. We have done a good job killing off beneficial bacteria in our gut with the overabundance of antibiotics and medications so we must be diligent at repopulating the good guys.
✔ Probiotics – Everyday – consistently! A good carefully multi-strain probiotic strain can help seal the junctions in the lining of the intestines and help heal leaky gut.
✔ Prep for Eating – No more eating on the run! Let’s get back to a quiet, calm, relaxing environment for eating. This means no nightly news during dinner, no stressful conversations and no eating while driving. When you are stressed, your body goes into a flight or fight mode and digesting food is the last action it needs to work on. This is why if you get in a big argument right before dinner, you lose your appetite.
✔ More Prep – Prior to beginning to eat, sip on a small amount of diluted broth, or warm water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. This will get your mouth ready to produce amylase and other pre-digestive enzymes. These are catalysts which help break down the food that you are about to eat.
✔ Chew, Chew and Chew – Chew each small bite at least 20 to 30 times. Chewing helps break down the carbohydrates and facilitates digestion. If you find that you have to have water to swallow your food, this is a sign that you should be chewing more. Let your teeth do much of the digestive work and give your belly a break.
✔ Transit Time – You need to poop. Every.single.day! Pooping is a form of cellular detoxification and you simply cannot be healthy unless you are pooping! #poopeverydamnday Also, let’s talk “transit time.” Transit time refers to the time between your meal and the time you expel your meal in the form of a bowel movement. Good transit time is 12-18 hours. Even if you “go” every day, you might be pooping out the food you ate 5 days ago. One way to test this is to eat a lot of beets and then see how long they take to leave your system. And you need to POOP
Sometimes getting this all right is challenging. I get it! Not everyone can tolerate probiotics (hello IBS suffers) and some probiotics are better or worse depending on your current bowel habits.
If you would like support to meet you exactly where you are, help you establish your goals, and sort out the overwhelm, feel free to reach out!