Most people pay much attention to what they eat. They go for non-fat food and pay for expensive organic food. Don’t get me wrong. We all should have well balanced healthy diet, but what is equally important is that we must also ensure the nutrients we eat are well absorbed. What I mean is that we must have good digestion too. Digestive organs, including stomach, are the hub of the body – they are the engines to absorb the nutrients, transfer wastes into bowels from blood stream and eliminates the body of toxins. Chinese believe that if you have treated digestive issues, many other secondary illness will go away, as healing takes place from within out.
Now, the question is how do you know whether you have poor digestion? More importantly, how to improve your digestion? In this article, let’s look at this topic.
Usually, your body take 12 hours to as long as 72 hours to digest the food, depending on what you eat. Food stay in the food for few hours before being released slowly to the intestine. Any undigested food will then be passed on to the large intestine where it will be eliminated out of your body eventually. Vegetables will be digested quickly whereas food like steak will need 2 to 3 days to be digested properly.
If you often have bloating and heartburn after meals, chances are you need to improve your digestion. If you go to toilet once every 2 to 3 days, yes, you may have digestive problem too. When the digestive system is sluggish and slow, your whole body will be affected.
Here are the 10 tips to improve your digestion:
- Drink enough water. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. Digestion is a complicated process which a lot of secretions are involved. Water provides the necessary lubrication to keep the bowels moving smoothly. Drink a glass of warm water with squeeze of fresh lemon and a dash of salt half an hour before meal. It will act as hydrochloric acid in your stomach and aid in the breakdown of food later. If you tend to have bloated stomach, avoid cold fluids with meals. Cold drinks can numb stomach acid-producing glands which may disturb digestion for hours.
- Chew your food. Chew the food as you do not have teeth any where else in your digestive passageway once it passes your mouth. Saliva is also definitely a good agent in breaking down your food. With the enzymes in saliva, let the digestion starts at the mouth even before the food reaches the stomach. Chewing also helps you to relax and enjoy the textures and the taste. Do not just swallow your food. Also, do not eat a full mouthful of food. Eat less with each bite so that you can chew properly. Use a small cutlery may help you to eat less with each bite.
- Talking about saliva, bitter foods may help in digestion because when you eat bitter food, your mouth tend to produce more saliva.
- Avoid distractions when you are having your meal. You will not concentrate if you are watching television, surfing net or reading while you are eating. Listening to slow music in a relaxed environment may help digestion. So, sit down and have a proper meal.
- Increase intake of fiber food such as apples, prunes, berries, papaya and whole grain food. Fiber helps move the foods through the intestines. Eat vegetables too. If you have a heavy dinner yesterday night, eat oat meal for breakfast the next morning. Oat meal is high in insoluble fiber and will help you going to toilet. Skip the alcohol for the entire day too because you need to give a break to your liver which has to work hard to break down all the fat from your yesterday heavy dinner. Check out my article on fiber – What Everyone Ought To Know About Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
- Do not eat more than you can. Stop when you are full. Wait at least 3 to 4 hours before you eat your next meal. Eating excessively will get the partially undigested food reaching your colon, blocking the tract and disrupting the natural process of digestion.
- Cut down on red meat and pizza because they are difficult for the body to digest.
- Eat whole unprocessed food. For example, apple is always better than apple juice. Organic butter is better than margarine. Oat meal is better than power bar. Your body is more efficient is digesting these foods.
- Take yogurt, cheese or other fermented food items daily. Fermented foods has Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria which are healthy forms of bacteria that help digestion. That is why yogurt lovers believe that yogurt relieve constipation.
- Do not forget to exercise regularly. Exercise helps improve your blood circulation and oxygen flow. Your body requires blood and oxygen to aid in digestion. However, do not exercise right after your meal. Your body need large amount of blood going into your digestive organs after meal.
So, next time before you try any medication, try the above remedies first. Remember that you do not be healthy just by simply eating healthy food. You need to digest them well to take the best out from the foods.
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