Are you one of those on the run busy people? Many of us have lives full of responsibilities, tight schedules consequently we are usually grabbing something “quick and easy” to eat, furthermore, barely chew it and then drink a big soda pop, iced tea or water. If this describe you, you may have noticed some digestion issues and some lack of energy. Most of us can get away with this to some degree when we are young, but the older we get, the more our digestion becomes challenged by a rushed lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help your digestion improve:
- Slow down, take a few breaths, say a thanksgiving for your food, and slowly begin chewing thoroughly. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, first we chew our food, breaking it down into smaller and smaller particles so the saliva mixes with the food and start the digestion process through its enzymes. Chew at least twenty to thirty times before you swallow it.
- Start thinking in terms of slow eating instead of fast food. Not taking the time to properly chew and eat your food interferes with the initial digestion process and can lead to many problems down the line such as indigestion, acid reflux, leaky gut syndrome and constipation.
- Block enough time in your busy schedule to destine it to exclusively eat, preferably enjoying your food with family and friends as often as possible, like Europeans do.
- Limit the amount of water you drink with meals, especially ice-cold liquids, because they can affect proper digestion. Too much liquid with meals dilutes the digestive enzymes in the mouth and in the stomach, consequently the food is not properly digested. If you like to have a drink with your meal is preferably to choose warm teas to aid digestion like ginger or chamomile herbal blends.
- Do not overeat. Your meals should not be bigger than your fist size. Eating too much food even if it is healthy food, puts a strain on the digestive system and can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, acid reflux and constipation. Many studies have shown that people who habitually under-eat live longer and are healthier than their overeating counterparts. Smaller portions and grazing during the day to have 5 to 6 smaller meals is much healthier than eating three big meals.
- Combine your foods properly. A great important rule is not too mix heavy protein food like meat with starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes or refined carbs like bread and pasta. This teaching challenges the tradition of hamburgers and sandwiches or meat and potatoes so popular in the American culture. This is not to say to stop having them forever, the goal is to ideally have them less often. Protein and carbohydrates require different digestive enzymes.
- If you are experiencing digestive challenges try eating your protein with only vegetables, especially including some high water content foods like green leafy vegetables. A salad, steamed vegetables, a small piece of free range poultry or fish are a great alternative to meat, potatoes and bread. If you choose to have a meal of grains than protein, use whole grains like brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet or spelt combined with lightly steamed vegetables and a salad.
All the mentioned above ideas are conductive to good digestive health but also its a great way to maintain a good alkaline balance in your body, which is one of the pillars of a healthy eating program.
Certified Heath Coach