Most people think their digestion is perfectly fine and don’t realize all the signs and symptoms that can actually point to poor digestion. A gut problem like poor digestion can show up as skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or acne. If you have brain fog, poor sleep, weight gain, or irritability, that can also be caused by poor gut health. Gas and bloating are just the most commonly accepted signs of poor digestion and a gut problem.
Do you have a gut problem?
You’re rushed at work so you eat food quickly at your desk in front of a computer while you’re trying to clean out your email inbox. When you eat in a stressed situation, your body is not interested in food or digestion. It is getting ready to run from a saber-toothed tiger so all your blood is pumping to your limbs, not your tummy.
Solution for a gut problem
Start your meal by taking three to five deep belly breaths. This will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress. When you eat in a rushed or frantic way, you’ll be in sympathetic system mode, which is on alert for danger.
Chew your food.
Ok. So do you chew a couple of times and swallow or maybe chew a couple of times and shove more food into your mouth? The number one tip I have for good digestion is to chew your food thoroughly. That means twenty to thirty chews per bite. I know, you’re thinking that’s crazy, but give it a try. Slow down. Really smell and taste your food. Put down the fork and knife between bites and never put more food in your mouth until you’ve completely chewed and swallowed the first bite. I find that taking smaller bites helps this process immensely.
To aid digestion, drink warm lemon water before meals. Warm lemon water is especially helpful first thing in the morning to help with hydration and elimination. If you must drink liquids while eating, take small sips and consume as little as possible. Liquids during the meal reduce hydrochloric acid levels and inhibit the digestive process. Stomach acid kills off bad bacteria, so you want it to be high. It will help stave off food poisoning and helps you from getting sick. I find that taking a digestive enzyme before meals can be very helpful.
If your food is not properly digested before it gets to the large intestine, the break-down process will cause gas and bloating. Sound like anyone you know?
Things that can affect digestion poorly are
- Not chewing well
- Fatty foods
- Ice water
- Poor sleep
- Some medications
- Lack of fiber
Eating more fiber can solve a gut problem
The average fiber intake is about 15g per day, while the recommended serving for women is at least 25g and for men, 38g. Most of us are only getting about half of what our body really needs to be healthy.
Fiber can help to prevent weight gain and digestive problems. It can help lower cholesterol and help to prevent heart disease. It even works to help control blood sugar levels.
Fiber-rich foods are things like apples, pears, carrots, beets, bananas, strawberries, and avocados. You can also add powdered fiber to your smoothie or protein shake. I use USANA’s Fibergy, as it contains 12g per serving.
In addition to adding fiber, I suggest all my patients take a liver support supplement. A healthy, functioning liver is important to digestion. When we consume alcohol, prescriptions drugs, cigarettes, or caffeine, these substances block the liver, which is the body’s detoxification organ. Cholesterol is processed by the liver, so when the liver is already overloaded, the cholesterol is circulated back into the bloodstream. This is can cause people to have high cholesterol. I like USANA’s Hepasil DTX as it contains milk thistle extract to help stimulate enzymes in the liver and contains antioxidants like green tea extract and turmeric to protect against oxidative stress.
Other digestive issues.
Poor digestion can lead to other diseases in the body such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, restless leg syndrome, and acne.
Need some help improving your digestion?
Join my 28-day digestion detox program. We will focus on:
- removing harmful foods from your diet (like GMOs)
- reducing stress
- eating foods high in antioxidants
- taking probiotics and quality nutritional supplements
- getting better sleep
- moving your body daily
Foods that improve digestion
- Yogurt because of the probiotics.
- Apples. Apples are a rich source of pectin, a soluble fiber.
- Fennel is high in fiber and helps prevent constipation.
- Kefir or Kombucha is fermented and filled with good bacteria.
- Chia Seeds are filled with fiber and are prebiotic food so they feed your gut bacteria.
- Papaya is a natural digestive enzyme.
Just email me for more info.
Have a great week. Donna