Eight Simple Ways to Improve Your Digestion

Eight Simple Ways to Improve Your Digestion

A healthy, well-functioning digestive system is a fundamental aspect of maintaining well-being. 

Here are eight simple ways to improve the function of your digestive system.

Drink apple cider vinegar or lemon juice half an hour before eating - dilute a teaspoon of either of them with a small amount of water. This stimulates digestive juices in the stomach prior to eating.  

Avoid stress and relax when eating - stress causes the digestive system to shut down because when the body is in fight or flight mode due to not being relaxed, systems in the body that are not necessary for immediate survival shut down while the body puts all its energy and focus on only what is required in order to survive in the present moment. Stress has a huge impact on the proper functioning of the digestive system.

Eat slowly, chew your food for longer - your food being chewed in the mouth is the first stage of the digestive process. Saliva, enzymes and the mechanical action of the teeth and tongue prepare the food for the next stage of digestion in the stomach. If food is eaten too quickly it is harder for the stomach to break down the ingested food completely before it passes into the intestines.

Don't drink with meals - drinking too much fluid with meals puts out your 'digestive fire' by diluting the digestive juices in the stomach that assist the efficient break-down of ingested food. Small sips of water may be ok to help soften food but avoid drinking larger quantities of liquid, especially icy-cold drinks.

Allow time for one meal to digest before eating another - the digestive process has different stages or phases. As ingested food passes through the system different digestive juices and processes are stimulated to assist the effective break-down and absorption of nutrients from the food. It is much easier for the digestive system to be able to do its work properly if it can focus on one phase at a time and digest one meal completely before another meal enters.

Regular mealtimes - try to keep a regular pattern to your mealtimes as much as possible. Your body gets used to these patterns and will naturally be prepared to digest food at these similar times of day.

Eat a healthy diet - insure plenty of plant-based food is eaten for its fibre content. This helps to give substance and bulk to digested food, making it easier for the intestines to move it along to the end of the digestive system for evacuation. Meat has no fibre and refined foods have most of their fibre removed during processing.

Maintain good friendly bacteria levels in the digestive system - this prevents the colonisation of bad bacteria in the system that can wreak havoc, causing digestive upsets. Good bacteria feed on faecal matter in the intestines providing the body with B vitamins in the process. Stress, alcohol, cigarettes, artificial substances, chemicals, drugs, and antibiotics are all detrimental to the maintenance of beneficial intestinal flora. Prebiotics and probiotics are highly beneficial for maintaining good bacteria populations in the digestive system.

And of utmost importance, think about what you're putting into your digestive system. It's like any functioning system... if you put bad stuff into it and don't maintain it, it's not going to work properly!

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