9 Simple Ways to Improve Digestion
Looking to improve digestion is a great way to start any health program, as you may be surprised to learn that digestive issues are not typical in healthy people.
Gas, discomfort, indigestion, constipation, no matter how infrequent they may be, are all signs of poor digestion.
And if your digestion is weak, you can believe that your nutrient absorption is inadequate as well leading to a host of health problems such as vitamin deficiencies, low energy levels, and even reduced immunity.
Give these 9 methods a go, and watch how your digestive health improves!
You have likely heard “digestion begins in the mouth” and that could not be truer. Your stomach can only do so much to break down your food and deliver it to your intestines for nutrient absorption. Thus, chewing makes your stomach and intestines’ jobs that much easier. Aim to chew each mouthful of food a minimum of 30 times, or ideally 50 times, before you swallow. You will know it is time to swallow when the food in your mouth has the consistency of a watery paste.
Eat More Blueberries (Fresh or Frozen)
Besides tasting great, blueberries are loaded with resveratrol and antioxidants that benefit not only your brain and immunity against serious illness but also your gut and digestive health. You see blueberries also contain pectin and soluble fiber which help remove waste and heavy metals from the body thereby optimizing digestion.
Use Peppermint Oil
Essential oils are just that—essential! They offer very concentrated doses of powerful agents to benefit practically every area of your health, and peppermint oil is the perfect example of this. Peppermint oil can soothe stomach upset, diarrhea, painful gas, and any other form of gut discomfort via inhalation, topical use, or consumption (just one drop is sufficient to make a difference). While peppermint tea can work, cooling peppermint is most potent in the gut.
Remember Your Fermented Foods
Fermented foods and drinks maximize your gut health by keeping your gut bacteria in balance. There are many fermented foods and beverages to choose from and the more variety you consume; the more your gut will benefit.
Consider any of the following: sauerkraut, kimchi, raw fermented pickles, fermented beets, pickled ginger, wasabi, pickled olives, apple cider vinegar, or kombucha to improve digestion.
While ginger relieves nausea and morning sickness, it specializes in soothing the upper gastrointestinal tract. A ginger infusion, ginger tea, ginger syrup, ginger extract, or some freshly grated ginger can all grant this benefit.
Drink Bone Broth
Nutrient deficiencies brought on by poor digestion can, in turn, make your gut health worse. Nevertheless, drinking bone broth either exclusively or as part of your diet can improve digestion and get it back on track. Bone broth, which is stacked with collagen, minerals, and other nutrients, cleanses and restores the gut. It is like a reset button for digestion, and there is no limit on how much or how often you drink it!
Try a Monomeal
Believe it or not, it is possible for your gut to become overwhelmed when it comes to digestion. Although meals are only considered “complete” when there is a protein, starch, and vegetable present, sometimes that meal can become too much for the gut. Instead, you should periodically have a monomeal—that is, just eat protein and nothing else; or, just eat vegetables and nothing else. This is a more extreme method and recommended primarily for those experiencing gut pain as well as lethargy.
Exercise is essential for optimal health, and this is reflected in the gut. Many digestive issues arise from your gastrointestinal tract slowing down. Get things moving again by drinking 16 ounces or 500ml of a hydrating liquid (i.e., water with lemon, bone broth, or green juice), waiting 20 minutes, and then exercising moderately for 20 minutes. Examples of moderate exercise include walking, jogging, or jumping on a mini-trampoline.
Tailor Your Diet for Digestion
Last, but not least, you must eat in a manner that supports digestion. As these other steps alluded, hydration, healthy fats, fiber, and good bacteria are crucial for gut health and adequate absorption. This means you should opt for foods with high water content, like lean meats, bone broth, and vegetables; long or at least medium-chain fatty acids, like olive or coconut oil, respectively; soluble and insoluble fiber, like fruit; and, a mixture of probiotics that do not require refrigeration.
Bonus Tip: Drink Lemon Water to Improve Digestion!
Natural spring water infused with freshly squeezed lemon adds beneficial antioxidants, organic acids, and enzymes that enhance digestion. Drinking lemon water achieves this by boosting immunity, balancing pH, flushing out wastes, and purifying the blood. Accordingly, this simple step cannot only improve digestion but also relieves inflammation and supports weight loss.
A special note on vegetables…
While 6-8 vegetable servings are recommended per day, consuming vegetables high in insoluble fiber can damage gut health especially if the gut is already inflamed. Thus, it is best to pass on those high in insoluble fiber such as bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, kernel corn, onions, spinach, kale, and other greens.
Instead, opt for vegetables high in soluble fiber including:
- Summer or winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
For more help in tailoring the diet for digestion, consult an Integrative Health Practitioner.
Axe, J. (2017, January). Gut health: 9 Steps to better digestion. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zZbg6Dqajs
Jockers, D. (n.d.). Are you destroying your digestive system? Retrieved from https://drjockers.com/healthy-people-destroying-digestive-systems/
Jockers, D. (n.d.). The 6 best strategies to improve your digestion. Retrieved from https://drjockers.com/the-6-best-strategies-to-improve-your-digestion/
Kresser, C. (2012, August). Got digestive problems? Take it easy on the veggies. Retrieved from https://chriskresser.com/got-digestive-problems-take-it-easy-on-the-veggies/