Ever suffer from excessive bloating, burping or flatulence? Or have you ever noticed undigested food in your stool (except from the usual culprit sweet corn)? These could be symptoms of poor digestion. Why is this important? As true as it is that we are what we eat, we also are what we absorb. If we do not adequately stimulate digestion to absorb the vital nutrients from our food, not only will we suffer from digestive discomfort, but also our health will suffer over time as we miss out on essential vitamins and minerals.
Luckily there are some easy ways we can stimulate our digestion, follow these top tips to improve yours!
Apple cider vinegar
Having a shot of ACV before a meal stimulates our digestive juices in our stomach and from our pancreas. This ensures our body is optimally prepared to digest food and assimilate nutrients. Have a spoonful in a shot glass or water if you’re brave, if not, make a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. In this instance, the olive oil also stimulates bile from the gallbladder which helps us digest our fats. This may be challenging to do at work but I find by keeping a bottle of ACV on my desk, i can quickly swig it before lunch! I also find this an effective remedy after a heavy meal to help et things moving.
Sounds super basic but just the simple act of chewing sends the message that food is coming, be prepared for it! Aim to chew each mouthful at least 20 times before swallowing. It sounds a lot but quickly you get used to it!
As busy as our lives are, it’s so important to make time, when possible, to sit down and eat quietly and slowly. This allows our digestion the time it needs to digest our food properly. Have you heard of the flight or fight response where our body gears up to fight a bear? This is an activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is also activated when we are stressed which inhibits digestion. By taking time to sit quietly and breathe properly, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the ‘rest and digest’ mechanism thus allowing us to digest our food effectively.
What to do if you’re suffering from digestive discomfort?
As much as I advocate prevention rather than cure, sometimes you need something which will soothe discomfort. Try herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint or cinnamon, keeping some slippery elm powder in the cupboard is beneficial too and a hot water bottle to help ease cramping and help release trapped gas.
If you have suffered from chronic digestive complaints, consult a registered Nutritional Therapist to address any underlying health issues.