Ways to Improve Your Digestion Without Changing Your Diet
Improving digestion is essential for overall health, and it doesn't always require a complete dietary overhaul. There is long held assumption that food is the main problem in conditions like IBS and acid reflux, but how we eat and when we eat may also be factors in triggering these conditions.
Here are some ways to enhance your digestion without making significant changes to your diet:
Chew Your Food Thoroughly
Properly chewing your food aids in the initial breakdown of nutrients, making it easier for your stomach to digest. It also help to stimulate digestive fluids in the stomach. Having optimum stomach acid when we are eating allows food to be broken down more efficiently before it is passed to the small intestines for further breakdown of food particles to help with absorption of nutrients into the blood stream. Remember to take your time and savour each bite.
Drinking enough water throughout the day helps maintain the mucous lining of your stomach and intestines, promoting smooth digestion. Drinking between meals also helps with hunger pangs and resorting to eating snacks. Avoiding eating between meals allows the digestive system to rest. This allows our migrating motor complexes (MMCs) to be stimulated. These tiny molecules are like our internal hoovering system. They clear down the digestive system ready for your next meal. Eating snacks between meals may mean that you don’t get that clean out meaning that circulating toxins are in the digestive system too long and long term may cause digestive discomfort.
Eating in a relaxed environment and paying attention to your meal can reduce stress, which can interfere with digestion. Avoid distractions like your phone or TV while eating.
Slower Eating: When you eat mindfully, you tend to eat more slowly. This gradual pace allows your body to keep up with the digestive process. Chewing food thoroughly, which is a part of mindful eating, begins the mechanical digestion process in your mouth, breaking down food into smaller, more easily digestible pieces.
Reduced Stress: Mindful eating encourages a relaxed and stress-free environment during meals. Stress can significantly impact digestion by diverting blood flow away from the digestive organs. When you're relaxed, your body is better able to focus on the digestion process.
Improved Nutrient Absorption: When you eat slowly and mindfully, your body can absorb nutrients more effectively. Properly chewing your food and giving your digestive system time to process it optimizes nutrient absorption in the small intestine.
Enhanced Awareness of Food Choices: Mindful eating encourages you to pay attention to the quality of the food you consume. Opting for nutritious, easy-to-digest foods can further support digestive health.
Less Indigestion and Gas: Rushed eating or eating under stress can lead to swallowing air, which can cause gas and bloating. Mindful eating helps reduce these issues by preventing hurried, gas-inducing eating habits.
In summary, mindful eating allows your body to optimize the digestion process by ensuring that you eat at a comfortable pace, reduce stress-related disruptions, and maintain awareness of your food choices and portion sizes. This, in turn, promotes better digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall digestive health.Top of Form
Physical activity can stimulate the natural contractions of your intestines, helping move food through your digestive system. Consider adding a regular exercise routine, such as yoga, which is known to improve digestion.
Yoga involves various postures and breathing techniques that can aid in digestion. The physical movement and stretching in yoga poses can gently massage the abdominal organs, promoting better blood flow and the release of digestive enzymes. The practice of deep, mindful breathing during yoga can reduce stress and calm the nervous system, which is closely connected to digestion. Regular yoga sessions can improve overall gut health, leading to better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Chronic stress can lead to digestive problems. In major times of stress our digestive system shuts down to allow energy to the brain and the muscles so that we can make a decision to fight or flee from the danger we are in. In today’s modern world we live with constant underlying stress that doesn’t go away. This means our digestive system doesn’t function to it’s best ability. It can reduce the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes which are essential for us to breakdown our food effectively. Poorly digestive food remains in the gut too long and begins to ferment. This may lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhoea. Practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga may help to calm your mind and body, and allow your digestive system to work more effectively.
Incorporating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut or kimchi, can help balance the gut microbiome, promoting smoother digestion. Probiotics are supportive of the gut microbiome and can help to achieve a diversity of bacteria in the gut. Diversity is the key to a well-balanced microbiome of the gut.
Overeating can put extra stress on your digestive system. Pay attention to portion sizes and aim to eat until you're satisfied, not overly full. Controlled portion sizes help you recognize when you're full, preventing overeating. Overeating can strain your digestive system and lead to issues like indigestion or discomfort. Long term this may cause chronic acid reflux.
Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine may significantly enhance your digestion without the need for drastic dietary changes. Remember that everyone's body is unique, so it may take some experimentation to find the combination of techniques that work best for you.
My motto is “small changes applied consistently make a big difference over time.”
My clients find my go slow by making small incremental changes over a period of time of three months have found they see changes that help them stay motivated.
Here are some results I have had recently.
Male client who was fearful of going out for dinner with friends and family, due to severe reaction with food, within two months was confident and excited about going out for dinner again.
Male client who had stopped playing golf because he needed to be close to a toilet, was back playing golf a within a few weeks.
Female client who could not leave the house as her gut symptoms were so bad was going out for 40 minutes walks within a few months.
How I can help?
Why not sign up for my 7 day free gut plan to further help you will improving your digestion?
Alternatively, if you would like to work with me to help you get your gut health back on track then check our my 90 Day Rebalance Programme.
Working to help you improve your gut health is my passion. I have been a Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapist for 7 years and have helped many get to a place where life is more enjoyable and free from worrying where the nearest toilet is! If you are ready to work with me sign up for my free 15 minute free pre-consultation to chat more about how I can help.
Have a great day
BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist