A few tips to promote your digestive wellness:
I have been through a number of digestive ups and downs so I have made it one of my missions to look at digestive wellness from a number of different angles, starting with therapeutic nutrition for gut health. In this post I will go over the 5 things that helped me most in improving my digestion.
Chew Your Food: your digestion begins in the mouth. Saliva contains beneficial enzymes including salivary amylase. The enzymes begin the digestive process. Make it easier on your digestive system and chew your food about 20 times before swallowing. Remember, just because it’s soft doesn’t mean that you don’t have to chew.
Eat In A Relaxed Environment: sit down and enjoy your meals with friends and family or in a designated eating area. Put away your books and steer clear of the TV, finding a place where you can relax and slip into a parasympathetic mode. Eating in a Sympathetic state can lead to poor digestion because your body is conserving energy for fight or flight
Slow down & Don’t Forget to Breath: The optimal pH in your mouth is 6.8. This is the pH at which food begins to be break down. Stress can cause changes in your pH. So relaxing before and during your meal helps to keep the appropriate pH balance and optimize your chewing efforts.
Eliminate Trigger Foods: Eliminating foods you are sensitive to will give your small intestine rest and allow it to begin to heal. It can be helpful in identifying food intolerances to keep a food and activity journal for 3 days-2 weeks to begin to get a sense of what foods might be troubling your tummy. From Here you can talk to your doctor or health coach about doing an elimination diet and getting some food sensitivity testing done. * You will find a template for the daily food and activity journal at the end of the post.
Incorporate Herbal Teas That are Beneficial to digestion: Chamomile and ginger are wonderful for calming and soothing your digestive tract. Fennel is wonderful for helping relieve gas and bloating
Try Some Digestive Enzymes: If chewing isn’t enough to give you relief, you may want to look into digestive enzymes and HCL supplements. I recommend Digest Gold by enzymedica as a good starting place for supplemental enzymes. It is not always beneficial to be on digestive enzymes for extended periods of time, so consult your doctor or health coach before using any supplementation long term. And if you are looking for a whole food alternative to get your digestive juices flowing, try 1c H20 +
Introduce Cultured Veggies & Probiotics: Probiotics in a capsule and through raw cultured veggies are beneficial for reintroducing good healthy flora to your gut. They are helpful on a daily basis if you are having gut and digestion issues or are taking other antibiotics or birth control. My top 2 recommendations for probiotic supplements are VSL#3, which can be found online, and PB8 which can be found at most Whole Foods stores or local health food stores.
* There are a number of great resources out there and lots of diets that can be really beneficial for gut health, but here are a few of my favorites:
Click here for our DAILY Nutrition, Activity, and Exercise Journal: TEMPLATE