Proper digestion is essential to absorb nutrients, boost immunity, increase energy, and improve mood/behavior. With the digestive system closely connected to your immune system, nervous system and hormonal health, it’s no surprise good digestion is a critical component to optimal health.
Although digestive problems such as heartburn, gas, and constipation seem “normal,” they’re actually signs of poor digestion. The good news is you can avoid those digestive discomforts by following the simple tips below.
6 Tips to Improve Digestion
1. Avoid Irritants
Remove digestive irritants such as processed/refined foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners, grains, legumes, pasteurized dairy products, alcohol, NSAID drugs (Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen), antibiotics, and possible food allergens (gluten).
2. Don’t Drink When You Eat
Although hydration is important, it’s best not to drink when you eat. Drinking too much fluid with meals can dilute stomach acid, resulting in poorly digested food and a decrease in nutrient absorption.
Make it a habit to get into rest-and-digest mode before, during and after meals. No more fight-or-flight, grab-and-go meals. Slow down and savor each bite.
4. Chew Your Food
Chew every piece of food thoroughly. You can also put your utensils down between bites to develop more awareness for the delicious task at hand. Not only will you absorb more nutrients and enjoy food more, but it can help prevent overeating.
5. Increase Stomach Acid
Increase stomach acid by drinking 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar in water 15 minutes before eating. An HCL or hydrochloric acid supplement is ideal for those with chronic low stomach acid.
6. Eat Fermented Foods
The digestive system relies heavily on probiotics or good bacteria from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and Zukay products. Good bacteria form a barrier on the intestinal wall to protect against pathogens and harmful bacteria.