People are slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that what they put into their mouths influences their health (hooray!).
One of the important yet often overlooked subjects is this: It is not only WHAT to eat but also very much HOW you digest it that drastically influences your health.
Digestion is simply put the absorption of nutrients ( you want to be able to reap the health benefits of the better food choices you are deciding to make) plus the elimination of everything your body can not use (including harmful bacteria, toxins etc) When your digestive system is not functioning well this can lead to physical discomfort (constipation, bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux). But even more importantly it keeps you from absorbing the good stuff and eliminating the bad stuff.
How do you make sure your digestive process working as awesomely as it is designed to do?
Read on to find out!
Your body is designed to be able to digest foods properly and comfortably. To do so it has several techniques including the secretion of saliva, stomach acid and bile. There are ways to help your body fulfill these function the optimal way: by proper ingestion, or simply put: HOW you eat.
Simple tactics to help your body digesting your foods comfortably
Drink before instead of during your meal
Drinking before your meal will simply prepare it for the food coming, urging your stomach to make more acid, crucial in proper digestion. Subsequently, when the body is producing stomach acid the body will also se into action the production of gall, to further down the line neutralize the stomach acid and aid further digestion(your body is designed brilliantly).
Drinking during meals is common practice. It’s just the way we are used to consume our meals, but is it helpful for your digestion? Not really or actually, really not! Let me explain why: what happens when you drink during your meal is that you actually water down the stomach acid that is there to help you digest your food. So drink your water before your meal instead of during to help the stomach acid do its job properly.
Make sure your food looks pretty and tastes amazing
When your foods looks and tastes good you start to produce more saliva. Saliva is already breaking down starches and fat plus it coats the food you ingest so it will not damage the skin inside of your throat and oesophagus. Moreover, the glands beneath your tongue are the first ones to extract nutrients from your food and enters your bloodstreeam almost immediately! Like when you are really hungry and feel better after just the first bites, it’s excactly this mechanism that has kicked in! Another bonus, eating a meal that looks and tastes good will satisfy you more!
A lot of people eat fast without giving a second thought to chew their food properly(I used to be one of them). When you chew your food properly you are preparing it for successful further digestion, by breaking down the particles which in turn reduce the chances of discomfort such as gas and bloating. Taking time to chew again has as bonus that it will satisfy your apetite better. It takes 20 minutes for your food to reach your stomach line and the hormone leptin (the one that gives you the signal you have eaten enough) to kick in.
Eat your food instead of inhaling it. Put your phone away, turn off the computer and don’t eat at your desk while still answering the phone in the meantime! You are eating now. Focus your mind on what you are eating and chewing and enjoy the actual sensation of eating. The reason this is so important is that proper digestion and the absorption of nutrients are greatly affected by the hormonal and chemical balance in our body. Simply put, when your mind is focusing on another thing the attention of your body is not going fully to digestion which leads to indigestion and all the discomforts related to this like bloating, gas and constipation.
Do not overeat
People tend to eat till they are full, which is not very helpful for your digestion. Take a blender for examples, filling it threee quarters is optimal for chopping up all ingredients properly. Same goes for your stomach. Practising mindful eating will help you discover when enough is enough. Learn to listen to the often subtle cues of your body telling you it is satisfied. You will already be on your way to reach this goal by following earlier steps as proper chewing and eating mindfully! After eating a meal and stopping before your are stuffed will leave you more energized, eliminating the after dinner dip.
My personal experience with this issue
Already as a little girl I had some digestive issues. I was often bloated and had stomach aches all of the time! These problems only got worse parallel with my eating habits, till I was full blown bulimic and did not only eat crap, more like inhaled it, no chewing, no thinking just scoffing it down as much and as fast as humanly possible. This led to more serious digestive issues. I still deal with the aftermath of the havoc I caused, being diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome. This does not only disrupts my body from fully absorbing all off the goodness I now feed it with every single day but also makes me more susceptible to disease! Luckily for me this is curable trough lifestyle changes, opting for healthier foods, reducing stress and ingesting foods in a way they are easily digestible. It takes time, effort and patience though, 10 years of damage is simply not undone in one year of living healthily.
So please don’t think too lightly on digesting your food, as taking care of this will not only cause you more overall comfort, it will also make sure your body is able to absorb all of the goodness of the food you are consuming and helps to avoid bigger issues!
Stay healthy, stay happy, naturally!