Improve your Digestion for Better Health
3 Simple Suggestions
Megan Horsley, BA, RHN, PTS
Consistent constipation, diarrhea, gas and/or bloating? You probably are not the proud owner of an optimal digestive system. There are a variety of reasons why you could be experiencing those symptoms due to other health-related issues, but in a lot of cases digestive issues come from poor care of the digestive system.
The digestive system is the long and winding road (tunnel, really) that starts at your mouth and ends at your bottom. This system is extremely important for ensuring you have a strong and healthy body. Sure, we generally eat in response to hunger pangs, but how, when, what, where and who you eat with, can all have an affect on your digestion, ultimately having an affect on your health! Below are some actionable steps towards an improved digestive system:
Drink a lot of Water
Water is the first on this list because it is the most important. Water keeps your muscles hydrated, which includes your intestines and colon. When water intake is sufficient, these muscles will be well oiled to contract and expand as waste moves through–imagine what this would feel like if you were dehydrated.
Water is also the base of digestive juices full of enzymes that break down our food. If we do not have sufficient water, we are less able to break down our food properly, which can lead to issues such as leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory disease, food allergy symptoms and so on. While water is not the only factor in these conditions, it does play a role. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of mineral-rich filtered water or spring water, every day.
Avoid Known Allergens
Eating foods that you know you are allergic to will increase the inflammation in your body. When we eat our known allergens (common examples are dairy, gluten, eggs, corn, pork), our antibodies attach to these undigested food particles and create immune complexes. These immune complexes release inflammatory proteins into the bloodstream which can lead to a variety of symptoms and adverse reactions in the body, including poor digestion, headaches, hemorrhoids, joint pain and so on. If you do not know your allergens, consider getting antibody blood testing done.
Eat Slowly and Calmly
When we eat in a hurried state, scarfing down our food, we are generally not eating in a parasympathetic state, also known as the rest and digest state of the nervous system. When you eat in a calm state, energy is conserved, and the intestines and glands involved in digestion are ready to process your meal. Take a few deep breaths before your meal, avoid distractions like your phone or TV and focus on your meal.