Good eating habits = good digestion. Good digestion = better nutrient absorption. Better nutrient absorption = healthier body.
I have found that one of the top complaints my clients and followers come to me with always involve symptoms of poor digestion. These symptoms come in the form of belching/burping, heartburn, flatulence, stomach rumbling, and gas/bloating. Almost always, people assume they have something wrong with them, assuming they must have a food sensitivity and need a boatload of supplements. Although that may (and most likely) be a factor, among other things, often times these symptoms can be easily alleviated by learning about good eating habits. And the thing is, they are SO SIMPLE!
Here are my tops tips for easing digestion-related distress:
1. Chew your food! The power of chewing your food THOROUGHLY makes an enormous difference in the ability for your body to not only digest food, but also to absorb the nutrients that food is giving you. Chewing each bite 20-30 times is ideal. Digestion literally starts in the mouth, so chew, chew chew!
2. Don’t drink with your meals. Drinking with meals is one of the major culprits of improper digestion. It interferes with your stomach acid’s ability to breakdown food (especially drinking carbonated beverages), thus allowing it to enter the small intestine without being completely ready to be broken down and absorbed. Try taking small sips of water throughout your meal instead, if you find you need it.
3. Understand the basics of food combining. Typically, carbohydrates take 30-60mins to digest, protein takes 3-4 hours to digest, and fats take 4-6 hours to digest. When you are cognizant of which foods to combine in a meal, you are doing wonders for your digestion. Keeping starchy carbs separate from protein, eating fruit alone and combining fats with carbs are the 2 that you should always be aware of. For example, when you eat fruit after a large steak, protein is first digested in the stomach. Since it takes roughly 4 hours for that steak to be broken down sufficiently enough to pass through to the small intestine, the fruit sits and waits for that process to finish, since carbs are not digested in the stomach but rather the small intestine. As it sits and waits, it starts to ferment and thus, you experience gas, bloating, heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms. Similarly, if you add butter to a piece of white bread, it will slow down the digestion process of the bread, which will help regulate the insulin release and blood sugar spike.
4. Practice mindful eating. Don’t eat on the go, sit down in a quiet place or relaxing setting, take your time and don’t rush, appreciate what you are eating, and be in a “happy place” while enjoying your meal. It sounds kind of silly, but research shows us that all these factors play a significant role in how we digest our food.
5. Keep meals simple. The fewer the ingredients/components in a meal, the easier on digestion.
Taking proper steps to aid the digestion process will help you feel good after eating, allow your body to absorb nutrients better, and help your gut health. Not to mention, you’ll poop much better too! Happy chewing!
To your health and happiness,