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Top Ten Natural Tips to Improve Digestion

Oct16

Oct16

Top Ten Natural Tips to Improve Digestion

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We have all had them from time to time. Yep, that terrific tummy ache, indigestion, flatulence and bloating. Ouch! There is nothing pleasant about any of these!

But there are some wonderful holistic solutions to give you relief. In fact, if you follow these tips at mealtime during your day, week and month, you will be “tummy terrific” and pain free. Since I have experienced some of these symptoms years ago and have now eased my way toward healing, I will make it as simple and easy for you to follow:

Tip #1 – Find a quiet, relaxing place to eat. No distractions. None. No cell phone, tablet, no music, no TV, …just you and your plate of food. Eat slowly and actually taste each spoonful of food so you can enjoy all of the flavors. While eating together (with family/friends) during dinner may be a truly communal and enjoyable experience, spend time enjoying the conversation and the smell and tastes of the food. No chugging it down, savor it all.

Tip #2 – Do not drink water or beverages WITH your meals. Many people may disagree with this advice. According to the holistic principals of Ayurveda, drinking water before, WITH, or soon after your meal dilutes your Agni (your digestive fire…ability to digest your food). Ideally, you want your stomach and small intestine to do the work to break down your food and mix it with acid and enzymes to further this process. Drinking water before, during and shortly after your meal impedes this process. You should only drink water when you are truly thirsty, and preferable in between meals. And more importantly, don’t drink COLD beverages. Let them sit at room temperature before you sip.

Tip #3- Limit wine/alcohol with your meal. While wine aficionados will often pair wine with food, remember that wine (and other alcoholic beverages) do contain a lot of sugar which can impede the digestion process plus elevate your blood sugar level.

Tip #4 – Warm food or slightly cook it slightly before you eat it. Eating RAW food is not right for everyone, especially for those with weak digestive ability (poor agni in Ayurvedic terms). While raw foods (veggies, fruits) provide excellent nutrients and nutrition, they can only do that if your stomach and small intestine are actually able to break down the foods into liquid form with ease.

Tip #5 – Chew your food 100 times. Okay 75-80-90 is probably okay too. The point is, you must chew it well. This gives your digestion a great start because as you chew, your salivary glands moisten the food so that it can be easily combined with digestive juices from your stomach and begin the process of digestion. Plus, chewing your food actually allows you to TASTE your food and its flavors more completely.

Tip #6- Consider taking a daily probiotic to help replace the good (friendly) bacteria your gut may be missing. Your gut typically has 30-40 different strains of bacteria (under good conditions), but illness, poor food choices or medications can alter that number dramatically. Purchase a multi-strain probiotic from your local health food store. Your tummy will thank you later!

Tip #7- Eat your meal/food until you are only 70% full. Your stomach and intestine have a big job to do. It takes a good amount of energy and time for your body to break down solid food to liquid form so that the vitamins and nutrients can be transported by your blood through your circulatory system to your organs. If you are eating healthy, nutritious foods, your digestive system will work more efficiently being only 70% full.

Tip #8- If you are occasionally suffering from indigestion, heartburn or bloating, consider eating a small amount of ginger root, licorice root or mint before your meal. All of these herbs provide calming digestive qualities. They are natural and work gently throughout your system. Say NO to antacids which will only exacerbate any chronic digestion problems.

Tip #9- Consider doing a gentle detox (and colonic) periodically in order to cleanse and rest your digestive system. Some detoxes are liquid-only, which enable your digestive system to take a hiatus from having to break down solid food. Avoid any foods which you seem particularly sensitive to. For those who might suspect food allergies or food sensitivities may be the culprit to your topsy turvy tummy problems check out the Elimination Diet. Many chronic stomach and digestion ailments can simply be resolved by eliminating certain foods from your diet. Colonics can be especially helpful to clear out undigested food and other waste in your gut. Remember to replenish your gut with good bacteria (probiotics) afterwards.

Tip #10- Eat your last meal (consisting of lighter foods and small amounts) early in the evening. Remember, food is nourishment and eating should be relaxing and pleasurable. Even if you are a foodie at heart, you can still minimize digestive discomfort by simply following natural tips before, during and after each meal.

Bon Appetit! Buon Appetito! ¡Buen Provecho!

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Natural Tips to Improve Digestion

  1. Maritza Parra

    Pam, this is a wonderful post for anyone who wants to live a more healthy and present life. Many of these tips I didn’t know (and I consider myself pretty well-versed in health/wellness) – Thanks for this sage advice!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      You are welcome Maritza. Many of the tipsI suggested are based upon my studies of Ayurveda and natural/holistic living. Keep Living Life Passionately!

      Reply
  2. Kate Erickson

    Pam, what a rockin’ list! Thanks for this – great reference that will continue to come in handy. I’ve never heard of some of these tips before, so I’m glad I came across this post!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Kate. Yes…these tips DO in fact work; I try to practice all of them on a regular basis. But nothing happens overnight. Takes your time and patience. Appreciate your kind consideration.

      Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi Anna. Oh yeah…i totally understand. Is quiet time really a myth? Not so, if only you make it that way. Find a place to escape to…to eat, to relax. Your tummy will thank you later :) Wishing you the best. Keep Living Life Passionately!

      Reply
  3. Dean Patino

    Hi Pam. Thank you for this very important information, I think good digestion is so incredibly important for good health. In Tip #2 it states not to drink water before meals. Like you wrote, many people disagree with that. I’ve heard to drink a glass of water with lemon before meals. What’s your take on when to drink water with lemon, how much, and how often to help with good digestion and other good health benefits it provides? Thank you for all you do Pam!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for your comments Dean. I know there are many different viewpoints about drinking water before, during and after meals. I think that lemon water BEFORE your meal (30 min or so) is great..its alkaline producing plus it will give your own body time to digest the food you are about to it, and not interfere with it. Personally, I have been drinking more water throughout my day than usual and find that it definitely helps with digestion and elimination. Yep…its all part of what our body needs and does. Wishing you the best of health!

      Reply
  4. Jodi Flynn

    Pam, great tips! Nobody wants an upset stomach after eating so any tips to prevent that misery is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Absolutely Jodi! But I am sure we all have been there at one time or another. Turbulent tummy troubles are just no fun :( Appreciate your comments!

      Reply
  5. Karen Osburn

    Pam-great suggestions! As a chiropractor, I recommend many of the things you’ve mentioned here. Nutrition is such a confusing topic for most, so breaking this down to a top 10 list is incredibly helpful and practical!

    Reply
  6. Jaime

    Great tips!
    As a personal trainer & fitness coach, it’s nice to have concise lists like this one to share with my clients (since it’s outside of my training/coaching)

    Reply
  7. Anthony Wells

    I like the tips in this article, I have experimented with them. I had surgery on my abdomen as a child and have always battled with mild digestive issue, like icky stomach after eating certain foods or drink. Getting worse as I age, That had led me to seeking out habits that would help ease the discomfort. What I learned……conventional eating habits were not going to work for me( at least not at every meal). I love iced water, but I noticed depending on what I paired with it; immediate stomach discomfort upon drinking after a few spoonfuls. If you think about it…….depending on the amount of fat in a meal; when you take a drink of iced cold water or beverage, you are essentially cooling the fat at a rapid pace within your digestion track ( goes in as a liquid, iced into a solid in your digestion track). Anyways I found that a glass of room temperature water is the best and iced cold water between meals if I’m quenching my thirst. ( at least most of the time). You will have so much more energy , when you are not bloated and not still digesting food from days ago. Everything you pointed in this article will help with that. Oh yeah, fasting is great too, my kids hate when I say that word. Thanks Pam

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi Anthony. Thanks for being so “real” about what you went through and your digestive challenges. And yes, occasional fasting is great too, depending upon your Ayurvedic constitution (body type). For some, the best fasting is purely just eating purified veggies…other body types can do well with more clear liquids during their fast. There is NO one solution for every BODY…we are all unique..our strategies must be somewhat differentiated as well. Appreciate your insights!

      Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Jaden! Yes…water during your meal can really interrupt your body’s ability to digest food well. Best to drink room temp water 1/2 hour before or after meals.

      Reply

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