Many health issues can be traced back to the digestive system, and can be caused by abuse of antibiotics, stress, over consumption of alcohol, infections, etc. most people aren’t even aware that their digestive system isn’t functioning well. If you’re suffering from heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, belching, unexplained lethargy or even odd cravings, you may also have digestive problems. There are many other symptoms, but what you need to know is that your digestive system is not functioning well. This can lead to the inability to absorb nutrients that the body needs for its everyday functions.
1. Avoid foods that irritate your stomach
Some people are allergic or intolerant to certain types of food, such as dairy, gluten, corn, soy, nuts, eggs, etc. Paying attention to your overall feeling after you eat these kinds of foods will help you in the future. If you feel bloated, unable to concentrate, skin issues or any other symptom that appears after eating, consider avoiding that type of food. Test your body and avoid one type of food each week to see which ones are the not agreeing with you.
2. Eat more fat, but not too much
The general consensus is to eat less fat, especially when constipated and get more fiber in your diet. A digestive system that is not working well will have difficulties in processing these fibers, leading to further issues due to the undigested fibers in your body. Fat actually helps in releasing these undigested fibers, so if you’re suffering from constipation, you need fat. Remember – get your fat from a healthy source, such as coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil, or flaxseed oil, and avoid unhealthy fat from soy, sunflower seeds or margarine.
3. Consume more fermented and probiotic foods
Beneficial bacteria perform much of the digestive processes in your bowels. If the delicate balance of their ecosystem is disturbed, they may decline in numbers, leading to digestion difficulties. To strengthen your digestive bacteria, add probiotic foods to your diet, such as yogurt, peas, dark chocolate, pickled cucumbers, and pickled cabbage.
4. Chew more
Many of us forget the importance of chewing as part of the digestion process. Even when we chew, enzymes in our saliva start to break down the food, so the more you chew – the easier it is to digest the food. Try chewing everything 20 times before swallowing. The process may be annoying at first, but it’ll help your digestion, and also can help in weight-loss.
5. Start each meal with something bitter
Even if you’re hungry, your stomach may not be ready to digest food just yet. Bitter food helps signaling your body that it’s time to produce stomach acids, which will help in digestion of the rest of the food. Greens such as rocket, as well as apple cider vinegar, are a great bitter starter.
6. Eat bone soup
Homemade bone soup is an excellent source of nutrients that your body craves, and it’s also cheap to make. The soup contains many minerals, amino acids, gelatin, and glycine, all of which are beneficial for your digestive system. Have it as a meal or as a side, but either way – your body will thank you.
7. Clear your bowels occasionally
We clean our body by showering, but often forget that the insides need a cleansing too sometimes. An enema is an ideal solution for internal cleansing of the bowels. It softens and breaks down any leftover refuse in our guts, then flushes it out. The results are better functioning digestive system and liver, so clearing out these toxins will improve your general feeling as well.
8. Drink ginger or chamomile tea
On top of its calming properties, chamomile tea also aids the digestion process and can help with nausea, stomachaches, and digestive cramps. Drink a cup a day, and you’ll feel the change. If you’re not partial to chamomile, make a ginger infusion instead – but be sure to use fresh ginger root.
9. Massage your stomach after you eat
Many alternative healers suggest massaging your stomach for 2-5 minutes after every meal to aid in digestion. To do that, place your palm on the top of your stomach and move it in a clockwise direction. If you don’t feel like doing it after every meal, doing it once in the evening is also helpful.
10. Support your liver functions
One of the liver’s main functions is producing bile, which helps break down fats in a process that helps the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, K. Insufficient amounts of bile can lead to harder-working digestive system that in turn, causes lethargy, particularly after eating fatty foods. To support your liver, eat beets, artichoke, proteins, and liver.
11. Eat a healthy breakfast
It’s not called “the most important meal of the day” for nothing. A good breakfast kickstarts your metabolism and keeps it working well throughout the day. Even if you’re not hungry, remember that you’re doing yourself a service when you eat, and if you add some yoghurt, you benefit twice.
12. Sit correctly on the toilet
Did you know that your posture when you’re on the toilet actually affects your digestive system? New research found that the best way to move our bowels is by squatting, not sitting. When we sit, we apply pressure to the rectum, similarly to bending a garden hose, obstructing the healthy flow. When you squat, however, your rectum is loose and straight, making it easier to have a movement. So use a small stool when you make your own, to have an easier and healthier time when on the bowl.
13. Drink water, but not during a meal
It’s important to drink at least 8 cups of water a day to keep the digestion running smoothly, but nutritionists recommend not drinking during the meal. Some foods make us thirsty, and in these cases, you should take small sips rather than large gulps. Another recommendation is to drink room-temperature water, since cold water slows the digestion process down.
14. Avoid eating when stressed or active
Eating when you’re stressed or in a rush is a sure way to get indigestion. When you eat calmly, your body activates the parasympathetic system, which digestion is part of. In stressful times or during physical activities, the body uses the sympathetic system, taking away energy from the digestive processes. This is why people feel nauseated during stressful times or after running.