Whether digestive issues are a primary area of concern of yours or not, it is one of the most important functions our body performs each day! I have outlined some simple and easy tips for improved digestion that everyone can experiment with!
- Time out! Take time to slow down and enjoy your meals. Indigestion can result from rushed or inattentive eating. There’s often a lag between when we start to eat and when your body’s digestive juices start flowing. Often, we are finished with a meal before the body has had proper time to prepare for food. Retrain your eating timeframe by sitting at a table (without distractions), concentrate on your meal and the amount of time spent chewing. BONUS: use a timer to train your body to enjoy a meal over a longer timeframe.
- Become a detective. Keep a food and symptom journal to determine if there are any trends in the food you eat and the way your body feels digesting that food. Subtle shifts in gas, bloating, or regularity may be a clue that a food is not right for you.
- Fruit alone. Some people benefit from eating fruit between meals, rather than with a meal. Try to eat fruit alone with a protein (nut, nut butter) as a snack or dessert. Avoid fruit at heavier meals as it can be a culprit when it comes to symptoms like bloating or indigestion.
- Drink more water (but not with meals). I recommend at least 64 oz/day or half your body weight in ounces, whichever is greater. Keep a bottle on your desk (preferably glass) and fill up regularly! Drink the majority of water in the morning, between meals, or with exercise. Avoid large amounts of water with your meal–take just enough to feel comfortable and lubricated when swallowing. BONUS: keeping a bottle on your desk forces you to get up to refill and urinate. Regular time-outs keep you focused and energized!
- Abdominal self massage. A nice way to relax at the end of the day (or whenever you have digestive discomfort) is to give yourself a massage! Start in the lower right area of your abdomen and press, following up, across to the left under your ribs and down on the left. This pattern follows your colon and can stimulate movement of the intestines. Also, clockwise circular motions starting at the umbilicus working outward can also be nice.
- Eat earlier. Make sure your last meal of the day is at least 3 hours before bedtime. Nighttime is when our bodies cleanse and move the bowels. Wake up more rested when there is not a heavy meal being digested all night long.
- Tummy teas! Several types of tea can assist with digestive function: fennel, ginger, peppermint, and chamomile– to name a few! Try using tea after a meal, between meals, or before bed to enhance digestion. One of my favorite brands, Traditional Medicinals, makes a host of digestive-centric teas that are tasty, too!