Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your stomach for hours after you eat? Or is the opposite happening, and you are running to the bathroom before you have even finished your meal? You are not alone. Digestive challenges are on the rise. It’s the kind of topic that many don’t really want to talk about. It is however, crucial to realize just how very important proper digestion is to your health.
Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair. Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before the blood absorbs them and carries them to cells throughout the body. When food isn’t digested, this means you are not getting the nutrients your body needs to stay its healthiest.
One of the main reasons you are not able to digest food properly is bacterial imbalance in your intestinal system. An ideal ratio for a properly functioning gut is 85 percent good bacteria to 15 percent bad, and when this is accomplished the good bacteria flourish and are allowed to do their job of digesting and absorbing certain starches, fiber, and sugars. Unfortunately, a lifetime of habits littered with antibiotics, sugar, alcohol, toxins, stress and ‘dead’ food has destroyed the proper balance we require for good digestion.
Here are my TOP 10 TIPS to improve your digestion:
1. Fermented Foods – These are naturally fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, etc., that, when eaten, will feed the good bacteria in your gut and balance your inner ecology.
2. Enzymes and Probiotics – I suggest that everyone take digestive enzymes and probiotics to help with the digestion of their food and build up their immunity.
3. Water – We all know we need to drink plenty of water. A little known Ayurvedic trick is to drink a glass of water 15 minutes before your meal. This will get your digestive juices flowing and your food will get digested better.
4. 80/20 – This rule is to eat until you are 80% full. That leaves 20% of the room left in your stomach for your digestion to work. No one likes that uncomfortable full feeling and your tummy will thank you if you stop just before you are full.
5. Eat Loads of Fiber – Your body needs fiber to carry out toxins, excess hormones, and junk. Eating lots of water-soluble fiber, found in veggies, will ensure that you get plenty of fiber. Just don’t forget step #4! Drink lots of water, too, so that you don’t end up with bulky stool.
6. Short Fasting Period – Don’t worry, I am not suggesting that you don’t eat for a day. What I am suggesting is that you take some time between meals. Give your system about 3 or 4 hours to let the food get assimilated. When your gut is constantly bombarded by food all day long, it gets confused and doesn’t work properly. Give it some time to work on that last meal before you head to the kitchen for a snack.
7. Cut Sugar and White Carbohydrates – These foods will feed the bad guys in your gut. Avoid them for less gas and bloating – and you don’t want the insulin spike that comes with them either.
8. Gluten – A large percentage of Americans are gluten intolerant and do not know it. Try going without and see if your digestion works any better.
9. Bone Broth – The #1 most soothing and healing drink that you could ever ingest. Homemade bone broth contains all of the nutrients you need to heal your gut if it is leaky and also provides the minerals you need for strong bones. It’s a win-win, must-consume food!
10. Food Combining – When foods are combined properly, they do not sit in your stomach and rot. That rotting food feeds the bad bacteria and yeast that everyone has residing in their digestive tract. To combine food, you eat protein with vegetables or grains with vegetables, never proteins & grains together. Also, fruits should be eaten alone on an empty stomach. I know this may seem completely unrealistic at first. Do what you can and pay attention to yow how you feel.
If you incorporate some or all of these tips, you will ease in to better digestion and the tummy troubles will disappear.