How can I improve my digestion?
The stomach and digestive organs are the hub of the body, it is where the body absorbs life giving nutrients, transfers wastes into the bowels from the blood stream and rids the body of toxins. Many naturopaths believe that if you treat digestive complaints many other secondary complaints will disappear, as healing takes place from within out.
It is easy to see why so many people suffer from digestive complaints such as nausea, indigestion, reflux, constipation, diarrhoea, allergies, high cholesterol and skin problems.
Lifestyle tips to improve digestion
- Don't over-eat
- Divide your meals into well-spaced nutritionally balanced meals with plenty of fibre and fresh fruit and vegetables
- Take time to eat your food slowly and chew it thoroughly. Bolting down your food means that the stomach does not have time to secrete the digestive juices needed for its breakdown. Additionally, chewing well allows enzymes in the saliva to commence digestion before the food reaches the stomach
- Stress decreases the amount of energy your body has available for digestion. Try not to eat when you are anxious or angry, as it will be harder for your stomach to break the food down
Diet tips to improve digestion
- Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar and cigarettes can adversely affect the digestive system
- Increase fresh fruits (organic where possible) e.g. apples, berries, pineapple, honey dew, paw paw
- Yoghurt containing live probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus is also a valuable addition to the diet
- Increase fresh vegetables (organic where possible) e.g. green leafy vegies, carrots, et
- Choose lean protein sources Tofu, legumes, unsalted raw nuts and seeds and nut butters and fish
- Hydration - drink at least 2 litres of filtered water daily and fresh vegetable juices
- Consume more whole grains such as brown rice, rye, oats, millet, quinoa, amarynth and breads free of yeast and wheat
- Enjoy herbal teas to improve digestion such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger and lemon, fennel and dandelion
- Choose healthy oils such as Cold pressed olive oil, olives, avocado, unsalted raw nuts and seeds
- Increasing the intake of bitter foods in the diet may be assistance as bitter foods produce saliva and digestive enzymes which enhances the digestive processes.
- Try beginning each day with some lemon juice in a glass of warm water and before each meal try apple cider vinegar, slippery elm or digestive enzymes
Avoid or limit the following foodsToo many of the following in the diet will greatly reduce digestive capacity and put a strain on the digestive organs such as the liver, gall bladder and bowels
- Rich and fatty foods, processed, refined, tinned, preserved, sugary foods, deep fried foods)
- Over consumption of alcohol, tea, coffee, soft drinks and cordial
- Drinking large amounts of water before or after eating dilutes the digestive juices
- Fats: Saturated fats, Trans-fatty acids (margarine, canola oil, deep fried foods)
- Carbohydrates: Wheat. Refined carbohydrates e.g. white bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits
- Yeasted bread
- Avoid any foods you may be allergic to such as citrus fruits, corn, wheat and milk products.
Natural remedies for digestion
- Bitter herbs such as Dandelion, Bitter melon, Citrus peel, Fennel, Ginger, Peppermint, Cardamon, Radish seed, Gentian, Cinnamon, Agrimony and Meadowsweet
- Slippery elm is a gentle demulcent to soothe the digestion, promote healthy assimilation of nutrients and improve bowel health
- Digestive enzyme supplements may help to reduce symptoms of bloating, constipation and inefficient digestion
- Probiotics are important for not only the health of the gut and bowels but can also improve the way your body digests and absorbs food