The digestive process has many functions. It breaks down the food we eat so that the smaller particles can move through our digestive tract smoothly. The better the foods are broken down, the more our bodies are able to absorb and assimilate important nutrients from them to use for energy and other cell processes.
A well functioning digestive system helps our body remove harmful waste and toxins that we don’t want circulating in our blood and entering our cells.
If we are not digesting food properly, we are leaving our bodies susceptible to a myriad of diseases.
As you can see, having proper digestion is key to living a long, healthy and happy life. If you’re struggling with chronic digestive issues, including gas, bloating, cramps, constipation and diarrhea, there are some things you can do right now to ease your pain and discomfort.
1. Slow Down And Chew Your Food
This might seem to easy to be true, but I assure you many people find relief from chronic gas and bloating just by chewing their food more. Your mouth is the first point of contact with food that begins the digestive process. The more you are able to break down food in your mouth, the less energy and work the rest of your digestive system have to do. In addition, the more you chew, the less likely you are to overeat, because you will eat naturally eat slower. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you are full. Slowing down will ensure easier digestion and even help prevent weight gain.
2. Eat More Fiber
Fiber helps to slow down digestion, balancing your blood sugar and energy. In addition it bulks up your stool and softens it, helping it to pass through your digestive system. This helps to prevent gas, bloating and constipation. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, apples, pears, berries, avocado, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and dark leafy greens.
3. Increase Your Enzyme Intake
Our bodies normally secrete digestive enzymes that are responsible for breaking down the food we eat so our cells can use the nutrients for energy and our bodies can excrete toxins that we don’t need. If you don’t have sufficient digestive enzymes, you may experience constipation, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and fatigue. The best way to combat this is to make sure your diet is full of enzyme-rich foods. Raw fruits and vegetables are the best sources of food enzymes. The more cooked a food is, the more its natural enzymes are depleted, so it’s important to make sure you have an adequate amount of fresh, raw foods in your diet.
Start your meals with a few raw carrots or celery or a mixed green salad. You can also supplement with digestive enzymes if absolutely necessary.
4. Drink More Water
By now I’m sure you know that water is one of the most important things you can feed your body to ensure optimal health. Water keep you hydrated and helps move food through your digestive tract, preventing constipation. So make sure you’re drinking adequate amounts of H2O. Sodas and coffee don’t count!
5. Eliminate Processed And Fried Foods And Dairy
Certain foods can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. If you’re currently suffering from digestive issues, it’s a good idea to eliminate or minimize processed foods, fried foods, refined sugars, white flours, dairy and even gluten.
Dairy and gluten are very common allergens and are often difficult for our bodies to digest. Because of this you can experience all type of digestive issues and your body won’t be getting the nutrients it needs. Processed foods, fried foods, white flour and refined sugars can also lead to gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and nutrient depletion. These foods are not easily assimilated by our bodies and often contain harmful toxins that can lead to disease.
Your best bet is to stick to clean, whole foods that your body recognizes and can digest properly.
6. Get Your Probiotics
Studies show that the beneficial bacteria that probiotics contain may help prevent certain digestive disorders. Probiotics also help to improve overall immune help, combat yeast and ward off infectious diseases. They help us digest and process food and promote regularity.
Alcohol, refined sugars, processed foods, antibiotics and toxins all lead to the depletion of beneficial bacteria in our gut and the increase of bad bacteria. Supplementing with a daily probiotic and including probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi in your diet can help to repopulate your gut with the good bacteria it needs to ensure optimal health. I use Daily Foods MegaFlora 90 Capsules and love them.
Digestion of food and assimilation of nutritnes requires a lot of energy from our bodies. When you don’t sleep enough, you can wake up unrested and may often experience digestive discomfort that day because your body isn’t able to properly break down the food you are eating. The time you spend sleeping allows your body to finish digesting the days food and store up energy for the next day. In addition, inadequate sleep can throw your hormone leves off and increase stress, which all affect the quality of your digestion.
8. Keep Moving
Exercise regularly to stay regular. Moderate exercise 5-7 days a week helps to move food through the digestive tract to ensure proper digestion, assimilation and elimination. This helps prevent constipation, gas, and bloating. Increasing your heart rate, gets blood and oxygen pumping through your body which aids your digestive muscles to do their work. You don’t need to kill yourself at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day should have you feeling better in no time.
9. Deal With Stress
Chronic stress causes inflammation throughout the body which irritates the digestive tract and affects how your body absorbs nutrients. Over time, this can lead to stomach ulcers, IBS and other diseases. To relieve stress try practicing simple breathing exercises everyday, doing yoga, exercising and eating clean, whole, mainly plant-based foods.
10. Keep A Food Journal
Each one of us needs different foods to ensure our own optimal health. There is no one size fits all way of living. Keeping a daily food journal and documenting what you eat and how you feel emotionally and physically during and after you eat it is a great way to identify possible triggers for digestive issues. You can then eliminate those trigger foods and see how your body feels from that. Most likely, you will feel much better physically and mentally, have increased focus and more energy.