3 Steps to improve your digestion
How fitting that I had mentioned in my last blog post (Avoid Iron Deficiency) that I will write about improving digestion today. Why so? Well, with all these new projects, deadlines and filled schedule come increased stress. Being prone to stress (because I care so damn much about the things that I do), it debilitates my digestion immediately. I am however not alone.
Here’s the thing; we have two nervous systems: the Sympathetic Nervous System (think: fight or flight response) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (think chilling in a hammock sipping on a cold beer by the lake).
We are either in one state or the other (stressed or chilled). There is no in between. Why is this important? Because with the slightest sign of stress, our Sympathetic Nervous System is activated and with that, our digestive system is shut down.
What happens? The food we consume is not broken down properly, therefore not absorbed and just goes through us. We get bloated as undigested food particles move through our gut slowly, feeding unbeneficial gut bacteria that causes more bloating as well as constipation.
So why am I going into this in such detail? Because by eating in a relaxed state, you will be helping to improve your digestion enormously. If stress at the time of eating is not controlled, all other efforts will be in vain.
So guess what my number one recommendation will be for you today? You got it!
Follow these simple steps to improve your digestion
This is best achieved by taking 3 deep, belly-filling breaths before you take the first bite out of your food. By doing this, you will help your nervous system switch from ‘Fight or Flight’ mode to a relaxed, sipping-beer-in-a-hammock state.
2) Chew chew chew
Digestion starts in the mouth as carbohydrate digesting enzymes are present in our saliva. Instead of chewing less than 10 times, as we tend to, we should be chewing until the food we eat has lost all texture and is mostly liquid. This allows saliva to get in there and start the digestion process.
Any food chunks that are not properly masticated will not be digested properly and once again land in your gut, causing bloating and constipation.
3) Drink warm lemon water
Our stomach’s digestive enzymes are only activated when the pH in our stomach is acidic enough. Because we eat on the go, in a rush, while stressed and don’t savour our food (a.k.a. not chewing) our stomach doesn’t get into digesting mode, which means it doesn’t have time to get its digestive juices flowing that activate said enzymes. Once again, our food remains undigested, causing bloating and constipation.
Drinking lemon water or water with apple cider vinegar 20-15 minutes before my meal is something I do without fail before meals. Every. Single. Day.
If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, you might want to try this. You'll be surprised that this is the best way to avoid the problem, contrary to what one might expect. I won’t get into detail today, but trust me and tell me about your experience.
I’ve learned through practice and education that improving your digestion, next to managing stress, is the single most important thing we can do to improve and maintain our health. By simply breathing, chewing, and drinking some lemon water (sounds super easy right?!?!) you can help prevent so many health complications and dare I say even diseases.
Food that is not properly digested causes major problems in our gut, thus affecting our weight, liver, immune system, energy, estrogen levels and even state of mind.
Do yourself a favour and try these 3 simple things, starting today. You might be amazed at how simple it is to implement them and how big the results can be. Let me know how it goes!
In health & happiness,
Natalie McCrae R.H.N.
I transform women's body's by teaching them to eat balanced meals so that they can quickly lose weight, without giving up 🍫 & 🍷