Our gut is central to every aspect of our health. It is where we digest and absorb the goodness from our food. If functioning well, we effectively utilise all the nutrients we put into our body and it gets what it needs to function effectively.
When your digestive system is off, your health can suffer in all sorts of ways. This includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn or gas. You may also experience food allergies, weight gain, skin problems and more. If unaddressed, these symptoms can easily manifest into more chronic health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, motility issues, anxiety, depression and more.
Here are some easy tips of what can help support your digestive naturally.
Chew your food
A key tip to improve your digestion is to chew your food well. So many of us are in such a hurry with our meals that we tend to inhale our food, which is a common cause of indigestion. Instead, slow down and chew. Chewing your food can make a huge difference to your digestion and is easier for the stomach.
Eat in a calm state
The only way we can effectively digest our food is when we are in a relaxed state. If we are feeling lonely, upset or sad when we eat our digestive system isn’t going to work effectively. Either the food will pass through very quickly depending on how we react to that state or it will slow down and not move through and become congested.
Meals should be enjoyed without pressure or stress, the dinner table should be a stress free zone and without the TV.
Eat bitter foods
Bitter foods stimulate the liver to produce bile, which is an important for digestion. Bile emulsifies fats and renders nutrients especially the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice before a meal can help to increase the stomach acid that will help break down food more effectively. Limes, grapefruit, dandelion, bitter greens and ginger are great examples to include daily in your diet. Makes the liver work hard and remain healthy.
Eat plenty of fibre
Dietary fibre is incredibly helpful for our gut. Soluble fibre absorbs fluid to make our stools softer. It also binds to toxic waste products, allowing them to be eliminated efficiently. Insoluble fibre acts helps to increase bulk which, with soluble fibre, helps to keep our bowel regular. Fibre also alters our gut bacteria. A lack of fibre causes inflammation in our gut as there is nothing for the bacteria to feed on and promote the growth of certain beneficial bacteria. Eating fibre from a wide range of plant sources is highly beneficial for the gut.
Drink plenty of water
One of the main causes of constipation is dehydration because drinking enough water keeps your intestines smooth and flexible. It also helps keep the food you eat moving through your intestines and ultimately allows food waste to exit the body. If your body doesn’t have enough water, then stool will become hard and difficult to pass.
Breathe deeply each day
Deep breathing enhances your health in so many ways but it is also a big part of the digestive process and can help alleviate many common digestive disorders, like indigestion and heartburn.
Deep breathing is profoundly rejuvenating for the nervous system, decreasing the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, which can play a direct role in digestive dysfunction. This allows your body to activate your parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and digest” system.
Simply by putting 5 minutes of effort into your breathing every day, you can make a massive difference in the ability for the body to digest and absorb the food you eat.
There are so many benefits to moving more and exercising. movement and physical exercise support digestion, increase blood flow around the body and stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract. Strengthening your core muscles through exercises such as yoga and Pilates are also great for healthy gut function.
Make an appointment with Alison if you want to find out more on how to nourish your gut.