Ever experienced abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea or flatulence after eating? You might not be digesting your food properly. Here are my five top tips to optimise your digestive health.
Support your stomach acid
It’s needed to digest food especially protein, and helps us absorb nutrients from our food. Stress, poor diet, ageing and some medication can reduce the body’s ability to produce stomach acid. If food and nutrients can’t be broken down they sit in the stomach and ferment, which can lead to bloating and flatulence up to an hour after eating. Stomach acid also plays a role in killing bacteria that may end up in the stomach, potentially through the food we eat, so ensuring we have correct levels is crucial.
Bitter foods before meals
Eat a handful of bitter leaves or herbs before your meal to stimulate digestive enzymes, leaves like Chicory, Rocket, Dandelion and Watercress all work well. One tbs of apple cider vinegar in a small glass of water 30 minutes before meals also works well.
An easy tip that can have a huge impact on your digestive system is the simple act of chewing. Chewing is often underestimated but is crucial for proper digestion. The more you breakdown food in your mouth, the less work has to be done later. Your brain also needs time to receive the signal that you are full, so take your time and chew 20-30 times before swallowing. Allow your stomach to prepare for the food it is about to receive.
Feelings of stress or anxiety can mess with your digestive system because your brain and digestive system are connected. Stress can lead to digestive problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and ulcers. To help control digestive health issues, try stress-relieving exercises, getting more sleep, or relaxation techniques like steady breathing or meditation. Staying relaxed after eating is extremely helpful to promote optimal digestion.
Eat plenty of Fibre
It is important to eat enough fibre to keep food moving through your intestines easily. There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble – Soluble fibre, like vegetables and wholegrains, draws in water and prevents the stool from being too watery. Insoluble fibre helps to add bulk to stool. Be aware of eating too much raw food in the evening as it requires more time for the body to break it down and can lead to bloating.
Please note the content of this blog does not constitute advice as every individual is different and requires a bespoke management plan for their individual symptoms. Please get in touch to book a free discovery call to see how I can help you.