10 Tips to Improve Digestion
Think of your digestion as a window into your overall health. If you seek to live a vibrant and healthy life, you should pay close attention to your digestion and yup… your poop!
If things are moving along with ease “downstairs”, you are likely to be well & feel full of energy. If you are struggling to eliminate (aka- pooping!) regularly, and have consistent challenges with indigestion, it’s likely impacting your immune system, emotional health, skin and much more.
What and when you eat, how you are sleeping, your ability to manage stress and emotions are just a few things that can impact your regularity.
Here are my favorite tips for promoting good digestion:
Tip 1: Hydrate
Many digestive woes begin with dehydration. Drink 16oz of water immediately upon waking each morning to set yourself up to have a hydrated day! Be sure to drink 8 glasses of water throughout the day. If you exercise, make it 10!
Note: the timing of when you drink your water can impact your digestion. Avoid drinking lots of water WHILE eating. This can inhibit the digestive process by weakening the digestive enzymes in your belly. Just take small sips of water while you eat. Drink the majority of your water during the day between meal times.
Tip 2: Get on a Schedule with Sleep & Meals
Your body likes finding a rhythm. By keeping a consistent sleep schedule, your body knows when to rest, when to digest, and when to eliminate. When your sleep schedule varies and you don’t get 7-9 hours of quality sleep, it’s more likely for you to experience irregularity.
Eat breakfast, lunch & dinner within the same hour each day if possible. When you keep a consistent schedule, your body eases into a natural rhythm with your fuel (food) and knows when to digest & when to rest.
Tip 3: Slow Down & Chew!
If possible, remove distractions while eating. Try to sit down and just eat. Remove cell phones, laptops, television or anything that can distract you from taking your time to eat mindfully. While eating, breath slowly, ensure you fully chew your food and get connected to the texture and taste of your meal. Good digestion begins in the mouth, when we eat too quickly, our body can’t always digest at that speed. Also, this will help to prevent over-eating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your belly is full. When you slow down and savor the meal, you are more likely to only eat what you need for nourishment.
Tip 4: Portion properly
Your stomach is not a bottomless pit. It has limits. A typical meal should consist of the following portions: 2 handfuls of vegetables, 1 handful of whole grains, 1 portion of quality, lean meat the size of your palm and 1 serving of healthy fat the size of your index finger. Your stomach can’t properly break down food when you overeat. If a meal is so delicious and you are super hungry…. SLOW down and ENJOY that shit! Take your time, no one is going to steal it. When you do that, you are more likely to eat the appropriate portion sizes and allow your belly to digest how it’s supposed to. Eat only until you are about 75-80% full to allow your brain the time to catch on to your belly being full!
Tip 5: Find Fiber- Rich Foods
Your body needs fiber, both soluble (the stuff your body CAN break down) and insoluble (the stuff your body CAN’T breakdown). Good sources of fiber are vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts & seeds. Make a green smoothie, choose fruit as a snack, make a colorful salad or a create a grain bowl. Find a way to get fiber from real, plant-based foods into your body on a daily basis and you will be amazed at how rockin’ your digestion will be! These foods are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes that support food breakdown & proper elimination in the body. These are also foods that you have to chew to break down, which helps to stimulate the digestive process!
Tip 6: Reduce Processed Foods & Refined Sugars
Your body knows that processed food is not real food when you eat it. And, it kinda gets pissed. When you eat processed foods or refined sugars, your body becomes more acidic, inflamed and unbalanced. These foods are linked to disease and known to cause digestive stress; gas, constipation & irritable bowel for many. You only get one body to carry you all the way through life. Treat it well and ease up on consuming junk that isn’t real food. If it has more than a few ingredients on the label or lists anything you can’t pronounce, it’s not fuel for your body, pass on it.
Tip 7: Add Probiotics into Your Belly
Consuming these beneficial microorganisms can keep your gut balanced and help treat gastrointestinal issues. Your gut, or “inner garden” has good bugs and bad bugs in it, in the form of bacteria. You want to make sure that the good bugs outweigh the bad ones. When you eat whole, plant-based foods, you feed the good bugs. When you eat junk food, sweets, meat and dairy, you feed the bad bugs. So by eating natural foods, you help your gut microbiome. But you also want to choose foods or supplement with probiotics. Kombucha and other fermented foods like kefir or kimchee, boast healthy bacteria for your gut. If you don’t like these foods, choose a probiotic supplement with at least 8 strains that requires refrigeration for the best quality.
Tip 8: Sweat Everyday
Regular exercise, like walking, running or yoga will help support your digestive system. Aerobic exercise, or breaking a sweat, will stimulate the contraction of your intestinal muscles. This helps to keep things moving downstairs! Just be sure to stay hydrated. Yoga postures have also been shown to improve digestion. Through varied movements and promoting relaxation and stress reduction, your body can release tension, fall into its natural rhythms more easily and your digestion regulates.
Tip 9: Put Mindfulness Into to Your Day
Take a few minutes each day to close your eyes, slow down and just breathe. When we are stressed out, it impacts the whole body. If sitting still is challenging for you, take a 10-minute walk outside and focus on slowly breathing in fresh air. Your thoughts impact your body…. Add onto this.
Tip 10: Try Abdominal Massage.
Give yourself a relaxing belly rub to release stress and tension from your abdominals muscles. To learn step by step how to do this, check out my YouTube Video on how to improve digestion and how to do abdominal massage! Here’s the link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m21kN2kcTZ4&t=214s
I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you’d like support improving your digestion, feeling better in your body, improving energy or losing weight, connect with me today!