Contributing Writers for Wake Up World
Our digestive system is connected to most, if not all of our bodily functions. For this reason, optimal digestion is vitally important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, due to the unwholesome foods we eat, the contaminated water we drink, and the polluted air we breathe, our digestive systems are loaded down with toxins, chemicals and unfriendly bacteria. Some researchers have even suggested that digestive disorders are the principle underlying cause of many unexplained symptoms and diseases. It is therefore easy to see the importance of the digestive system and doing everything we can to support it. Here are 5 easily ways to improve digestion and assimilation naturally.
1. Chew your food
This is one of the easiest and most simple ways to improve digestion. However, it’s a practice that many of us often forget. We lead busy lives and most of us are lucky if we can sit down and eat our dinner. If we want to improve our digestion, we need to invest the time. When we eat, it is important to be relaxed and comfortable. We need to take the time to chew our food thoroughly. Food should be paste like before it is swallowed. If we swallow chucks of food, our digestive system is forced to work harder in breaking it down. Furthermore, we run the risk of food rotting in our digestive tract, causing gas, bloating and discomfort. In some cases, it may not be possible to breakdown the food, and this means that the nutrients in the food are not able to be absorbed into the bloodstream. On the other hand, if we thoroughly chew our food, it allows our stomach and small intestine to work efficiently in breaking down the food further into assimilable nutrients.
2. Don’t drink with meals
This is another important practice to get used to. When we drink with our meal, even if it is water, it dilutes our digestive juices and slows down the digestive process. It is understandable that some foods make us thirsty. In this case, it is OK to drink water with our meal; however we should only be taking sips, not gulping the water down. Additionally, beverages should always be room temperature. Cold water will stall digestion.
3. Increase your intake of enzymes
There are three main categories of enzymes. There are metabolic, digestive and food enzymes. Metabolic enzymes are required for growth, repair, maintenance, and detoxification which are produced by the body. Digestive enzymes break down food into small particles, small enough to pass through the cell membranes lining the digestive tract and into the blood stream. They are typically secreted along the digestive tract, however if one has issues
with digestion, they may not be secreting enough. In this case, it is advisable to take a digestive enzyme complex with each meal. The most important digestive enzymes are protease (breaks down protein), amylase (breaks down starch), and lipase (breaks down fat). Food enzymes, like digestive enzymes, enable the body to digest food by breaking down various nutrients into their smaller particles. They are derived from raw fruits and vegetables. This is why a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables is key to optimal digestion and therefore, optimal health.
4. Get your fibre
Dietary fibre is a carbohydrate that the body cannot digest or absorb. However, it plays a vital role in digestive health. As fibre moves waste through the digestive tract, it pushing food out and various toxins along with it. There are two classifications of fibre: insoluble which cannot be dissolved in water and soluble which can be dissolved. Found mostly in plant sources like fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, fibre is essential for maintaining health and plays an important role in the digestive process.
5. Practice food combining
Different types of foods require different digestive secretions and take different lengths of time to digest. For example, protein can take 4-6 hours to digest, while fruit takes approximately 15 minutes. If we eat the two together, the fruit is left sitting in the digestive tract to rot while it waits for the protein to be digested. This can cause excessive gas, bloating and discomfort. Although food combining may not be the easiest way to improve digestion, it is certainly one of the most effective. The table below provides the general principles of food combining. (Note: Food combining is not for those with sugar imbalances. In order to balance blood sugar, a diet of balance macronutrients is vital)
An optimally functioning digestive system can do wonders for our over health and sense of well-being
About the Authors
Jordan and Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest