When we think of eating healthy, we think of choosing foods that are fresh, local and organic, perhaps even eating more vegetables and fruits, getting enough protein and other beneficial macro and micro nutrients. All these things are important in bringing us vital nutrients and optimal health; however, there is another step that is often overlooked. We can eat the best foods available but if we are not digesting and absorbing our food efficiently and completely we are doing our body a disservice. Some simple steps can help improve the quality of your digestion, one bite at a time. Try introducing some of these ideas:
Stop Eating on the Run
Eating on the run reduces the quality of digestion. It is best to be in a relaxed state when eating if you can. Let your body settle into the parasympathetic nervous system rhythm where digestion thrives. Mindful eating is also important.
Reduce the Amount of Water/Liquids You Consume with Meals
Keeping your water intake to half a cup or less at meal time will prevent your hydrochloric acid and other important digestive enzymes from being diluted.
Drink Room Temperature Water
The colder your water is, the harder the digestive system has to work; especially if you drink cold water with meals. Cold water can stall digestion. Leaving filtered water out on your counter is a great way to have accessible room temperature water on hand.
Chew your Food Slowly
Chewing your food completely helps break it down so that the stomach has less work to do. Also, the longer you have food in your mouth the longer enzymes have to break it down resulting in better absorption.
Improve the Quality of your Microbiome
Our microbiome suffers when we are stressed, eat poorly, take antibiotics and are exposed to toxins. Introducing probiotics, fermented foods and reducing sugar are simple ways to improve gut health.
Consider Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes may be that extra kick you need to boost your digestion. These supplements contain specific enzymes that will help you break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Ask your practitioner if this is a good option for you.
Improve Food Quality
Consider tracking what you eat in a food journal to become more mindful of what you are eating. Are you eating as well as you thought? You may be surprised. Keeping a good variety in your diet also helps.
Track your Stool
Your bowel movements will tell you a lot about the quality of your absorption and digestion. Come by Kingston Integrated Healthcare and request a stool chart from Nutritionist Courtney O’Connor to help identify what your stool is saying.