These days it is so common for people to be allergic/intolerant to allergenic foods e.g. gluten, wheat, dairy, sugar, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and nightshades. Try at least one week without each of these suspect foods individually. When you reintroduce them note any signs and symptoms anywhere in the body e.g. digestive and bowel changes, nasal congestion, joint pain, brain fog, pimples, rapid heart rate, skin rash or mood swings. These are just a few of the many side effects someone can suffer from with a food allergy/intolerance.
Carbs, protein and fruit require different enzymes and pH. They all take a different amount of time to digest. Some people find that eating fruit on an empty stomach (usually for breakfast), and carbohydrates and protein separately (one for lunch and one for dinner), improves digestion and reduces bloating. Eating only one concentrated food for each meal may enhance digestion. Concentrated foods include grains, eggs, meat and seafood. Add unlimited un-concentrated foods, including leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot, capsicums, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, snow peas, celery, fennel, cabbage and onion.
Water between meals
For optimal digestion, avoid drinking water at least 30 minutes before and after eating. Water dilutes stomach acid, which is required to activate enzymes and breakdown food. Take your glass of water off the dining table so you are not tempted to sip during your meal. Continue to drink plenty of water between meals.
Chew, chew, chew
There are no more teeth beyond your mouth. If you inhale your food, it is very difficult for your body break down. “Drink your food and eat your drink” means chew your food until it has liquefied and even chew your drinks to prepare your stomach for them.
Some of the richest foods in enzymes are pineapple, kiwifruit, papaya/pawpaw and sprouts. All raw foods contain some enzymes. Enzymes enable us to digest foods, but they are destroyed during cooking. If cooked and processed foods feel heavy in your stomach, incorporate more raw, living foods into every meal and snack. Your skin, energy and bowel motions will also thank you for it!
Click here to refresh yourself about probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods. Some of the richest foods in probiotics are kefir, coconut kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and yoghurt. Probiotics may reduce digestive symptoms, occurring due to a lack of beneficial gut bacteria in the large intestine.
Relaxation is essential for proper digestion, because the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for rest, digest and repair. Relaxation is required to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. The most effective way to switch your nervous system from sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) to parasympathetic, is to breathe diaphragmatically. Complete 10 slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths before each meal. Check out my Chillax (Chill Out & Relax) Tonic.
Establish a routine
When you eat at the same time each day, the body prepares by producing digestive juices (e.g. stomach acid, enzymes and bile) at a regular time each day. Regular in life (e.g. eating and regular exercise) also regulates bowel motions.
Also called full squat, or malasana in yoga. This is a primary human movement, as this is the way our ancestors defecated before western toilets. It promotes bowel motions and optimal digestion because the hips are below the knees. Position yourself in an Asian squat every morning before using your bowels. Start with 1 minute, build up to 5 minutes. Inflexible people will feel a nice inner thigh stretch. Place your feet shoulder width apart slowly angling outwards. Bend your knees, while lowering your buttocks towards the floor. Keep your feet flat on the floor – do not rise onto your toes, that is cheating! Keep your back as straight as possible. Don’t hunch towards the floor. If you cannot perform the Asian squat with your feet flat on the floor without falling backwards onto your back, perform it by holding a pole or strong piece of furniture to prevent yourself from falling backwards.
Herbal Medicine and tea
Chamomile, Cinnamon, Fennel, Ginger, Lemon balm, Peppermint, Aniseed, Dandelion root and Turmeric teas may improve digestion. Steep tea as long as possible. Put a saucer or lid over the cup to prevent the therapeutic volatile oils evaporating into the air and escaping. There are different benefits of all of these medicinal herbs, so drink a variety of herbal teas daily. They count towards your daily water intake.
Check out my Happy Tummy Tonic.
Consult with me
Digestive issues may be complex and have a multitude of causes. These tips may solve simple problems, but if multiple problems are at play it is best to consult a health practitioner to determine the cause and individualise recommendations. I can prescribe appropriate herbs for your individual case.
Check out my Blog ~ Leaky Gut & Digestion ABC’s.