Improve Digestion with these 5 Simple Techniques
Healthy digestion is at the core of our health.
If we're unable to properly break down and absorb the nutrients in our food, our body and mind isn't getting the fuel it needs to operate. This leads to a long list of complications, but common signs and symptoms we think of are: fatigue, brain fog, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and poor gut health is often implicated in cases of anxiety, depression, insomnia, weakened immune function, reproductive concerns, and musculoskeletal pain.
Here are 5 easy ways to optimize your digestion and overall health:
Chew your food thoroughly.
Digestion begins in the mouth!
Saliva contains digestive enzymes that begin the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates. Furthermore, the physical breakdown of food that occurs when chewing makes it easier for our stomach to further digest, optimizing nutrient absorption and reducing gastric distress.
How many times you should chew depends on the food that you're eating. You want to chew until the food becomes liquidized (many sources say chewing an average of 32 times before swallowing).
Drink hot water with meals.
Drinking hot water causes blood vessels in the digestive tract to dilate, promoting blood flow. Proper blood flow to the digestive organs is critical for digestion. Instead of ice water or other chilled beverages that hinder digestion, sip on hot water or tea during and after meals.
Eat cooked and warm foods.
The same idea holds true here. Consuming too many cold or raw foods makes it harder for our food to be properly digested by restricting blood flow. In Chinese medicine, eating mostly cooked foods rather than raw is recommended to maintain proper health.
Eat without distractions.
Trying to eat while working, watching TV, or scrolling through social media? While we've all been there, this can lead to overeating and impaired digestion. So take a break, turn off the TV, put down the phone and savor every bite (and remember to chew thoroughly!)
Eat in a relaxed state.
Stress is not synonymous with digestion. When we’re under stress, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in (our "fight or flight" mode), directing blood flow away from our digestive organs, so managing stress is crucial for digestion.
Some of my favorite ways to de-stress: nature walks, journaling, deep breathing exercises, tapping (EFT), and acupuncture. I have so many more tools I'd love to share with you, so please reach out if you're wanting more ways to de-stress.
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Try these 5 simple techniques and let me know what you think!
If you're still having symptoms, don't fret. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has long been used to treat digestive concerns. Reach out with any questions or to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.
Cheers to a happy gut 🥂