Quick, Simple Ways to Improve Digestion & Gut Health
With our fast-paced and on-the-go lifestyle these days, it’s not surprising that many of us tend to neglect our digestion and gut health. Every food consumed is high in preservatives or is prepared instantly. According to Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker’s Diet, the ‘wrong’ foods are rarely digested properly and the by-products of incomplete digestion clog the gut with accumulated debris. This coating becomes a perfect breeding ground for dangerous forms of bacteria and other microorganisms. Simply put, better general eating habits are required to improve our digestion and gut health.
If you are now beginning to feel concern about what’s going on in there, it isn’t too late to start improving your digestion, reducing overgrowths of bad bacteria and yeast, increasing growth of good bacteria, encouraging better absorption of nutrients and aiding your body in dealing with toxins. Here are a handful of ways to achieving better digestion and gut health:
Drink ginger tea
Ginger tea is an excellent remedy if you’re experiencing digestive problem. The drink is soothing to the system and aids in digestion. Also, another great option is peppermint tea or a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a glass of warm or lukewarm water. The smell of it alone will calm you down. Alternatively, you may want to try cultured drinks for your digestive system; Vitagen or Yakult are great options.
Digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid as a solution
If you’re struggling with poor digestive health but still not ready to make major dietary changes, you need to try hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes as a solution. Most people with digestive/gut issues have insufficient stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) to break down foods, and most of us do not eat enough live enzymes through raw or fermented/cultured foods to help that process along. By taking hydrochloric acid supplements and/or digestive enzymes, it can help your stomach to at least begin the process of breaking down the foods that you eat. The rest of your gut may still be imbalanced but the more effectively that your stomach is able to properly breaking down foods before they enter the rest of the digestive tract, the better.
Give your body a rest
If you have digestion-related symptoms such as heartburn, gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, etc., it could mean that you might have eaten something that has upset your tummy. In this case, it is advisable that you identify what the item was and take a break from that food. You need to give your body a longer rest before you eat another meal, rather than adding to an already upset system. Overeating should be avoided at all cost.
Start your morning well
Start your morning with a glass of lukewarm water with fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This gives your digestive system a gentle jump start and prepares it for the food that you will start your day off with. Starting your morning with smoother digestion goes a long way towards a better functioning system overall. Also, by doing this, you will feel much more refreshed – a great way to kick-start a day and kick the morning blues away.
Consume probiotics on a regular basis
Too many supplements are not recommended but there are two that have been regularly recommended – cod liver oil and a good quality probiotic. You might have heard of acidophilus, which is just one of the many beneficial bacteria strains that we want to populate our gut. For many reasons, chlorinated water, antibiotic use and more, we need to be proactive about repopulating our gut with these friendly little bacteria, which do so much more in our bodies than we really give them credit for. Try famous brands such as Kordel’s and BioGrow, among many other excellent ones out there. Ask a reputable health store for their recommendation if you’re not so sure.
Have a pre-meal ritual
Have fermented foods with or just before your meals. As a rich source of enzymes, naturally fermented foods help to break down what we eat, in addition to boosting the good bacteria count in our bodies. A few examples of naturally fermented foods are kefir or yogurt, kombucha (fermented sweetened tea), sour cream or creme fraiche, fermented vegetables (lacto-fermented pickles or salsa, sauerkraut) and any other food that is naturally lacto-fermented or made using live bacterial cultures. Try adding just one or two fermented and/or cultured foods to your family’s diet for gut health all around.
Chew your food properly
Most people don’t realize that if you gobble down your food, your digestive system is unable to process larger chunks of foods as effective as compared to smaller chunks of food. Saliva in your mouth also helps the digestive process by breaking down carbohydrates as it contains digestive enzymes which start carbohydrate digestion. Learn to take your time to enjoy your food and chew each bite thoroughly.
Soup for the soul(and gut)
It is recommended that you add homemade bone broths to your diet and try to include them in meals as often as you can. Use them in soups and stews, gravies, pasta sauces, casseroles and pot pies, or even drink them by the mug with or in between your meals. Truly healing and soothing to the gut, bone broths are a frugal homemaker’s best friend on the road to better health. Broths are cheap and easy to make and when made correctly, are powerhouses of gut-healing gelatin and other nourishing nutrients. Who doesn’t like to eat soup? They are tasty, creamy and go well with everything. Get a taste on hearty soups by famous wholesome food brands like Country Farm or BMS Organics.
Drink less with your every meal
When you drink a lot during a meal, the liquid consumed dilutes the levels of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Without sufficient hydrochloric acid, digestion cannot take place quickly or smoothly. Try to have your drinks at least 30 minutes before, or 30-60 minutes after you eat. Additionally, beverages that are room temperature are easier on the digestive system than really cool drinks, so skip the ice if you can.
Exercise can actually help with your digestion as it promotes movements within your bowels. In addition to that, as your body needs to assimilate the food into energy, exercise will help to improve your body’s metabolism which will allow your food to be digested quicker. Thus, it is important to remain active each day and develop a consistent exercise/physical activity routine and a healthy lifestyle.
Having and enjoying a healthy digestive system is certainly not that complicated if you are willing to put an effort to it for your own good. By following these simple tips and ensuring that you’re consuming the right foods and enjoying a balanced diet and lifestyle, you will significantly reduce the chance of experiencing digestive problems, developing colon cancer and low body immunity.