Improving Your Digestion - Food Hygiene Basics
Following a few basic eating guidelines can really help aid your digestion. These benefits include:
- Proper stomach acid formation
- Proper release of protein, carbohydrate & fat digestion enzymes for food breakdown
- Proper release of bile for fat absorption
- Improved vitamin, mineral and nutrient absorption
- Proper gastric emptying and movement cycles
- Decrease in gastrointestinal distress (diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, discomfort, inflammation)
Implement these tips to optimize your digestive health:
Prepare your own food: starts the digestive process; sight & smell of food triggers enzyme release and stomach acid production.
Chew your food thoroughly (20-30 chews per bite): this is the first step of food digestion and it allows more access to food nutrients.
Eat in a calm environment: No TV, don’t eat at the desk while working, no stressful conversations, few distractions, take 5 deep breaths and a moment of thanks. Your body needs to be in the rest and digest mode (parasympathetic) to optimize digestion and nutrient absorption.
Eat with others and enjoy light conversation: eating during cheerful conversation and with people you like puts you in a state of mind for optimal food digestion.
Eat appropriate portions: overeating can cause problems with gastric function and increases risk of reflux, heartburn, and hiatal hernias. Click here to learn about general potion guidelines.
Regular meal times: eating meals at the same time daily establishes a routine and allows your body to know when to expect a meal.
Avoid liquids while eating: liquids can dilute stomach acid and other digestive enzymes. Drink plenty of water in between meals, but try to wait at least 30 minutes after each meal to drink large amounts of water.
Eat whole foods: properly raised meat, fish vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds and their butters, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, etc.), herbs, etc. together can provide you with the nutrients essential to your health and wellbeing. Click here to learn more about eating a whole foods based diet.
Eat Organic Foods: along with fewer toxic pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, organic foods in general have higher levels of antioxidants, which can benefit detoxification pathways in the body.
Apple cider vinegar: 1 tsp in 4-8 oz water about15 minutes before meals delays gastric emptying and lowers after meal blood glucose and insulin levels and helps with stomach acid production and pancreatic enzyme release