10 Ways to Better Digestion

by Sam Malone


You probably don’t give much thought to what’s happening in your body after you finish a meal. Fact of the matter is that the moment you push your plate away, your digestive system kicks in to gear and the hard work actually begins. It can take anywhere between 9 to 24 hours for a meal to be completely digested and during this time, there are a number of processes that occur.

Food is broken down in the stomach and small intestine, nutrients are absorbed in to the lining of the small intestine, water and nourishment is supplied to all the cells of the body, and waste matter is transported into the colon.

As you can imagine, there is a lot that can go wrong along the way so it’s up to you to ensure that this complex operation runs as smoothly as possible.

Questions on how to help improve your digestion are very common and though it may come as a surprise, some of the things you can do are really very simple.

Tips for Better Digestion

Read on to know more about the different ways you can aid digestion and better your health.

  1. Keep Pace - Rushing through a meal is never a good idea. When you chew slowly, and savor the sight, smell and taste of your food, the stomach and the salivary glands are informed that its time to start moving. Chemicals are then secreted to break down your food into manageable bits and this lessens the load on the digestive process. Eating fast and in big bites also increases the amount of air you swallow and leaves you gassy and bloated.
  2. Feed your Friendly Neighborhood Bacteria - Good bacteria that live in the gut thrive on fiber. If you eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, it keeps the bacteria healthy and fit to do their job. Fiber also helps reduce constipation and encourages the removal of waste from the system.
  3. Stop and Listen - Your stomach will make its preferences very clear but it’s up to you to pay heed to these warnings.If you constantly react badly to spicy foods, suffer from gas after eating beans or feel nauseas after consuming dairy products; it’s about time you listened to your tummy and stop eating these foods. If you do suffer from food intolerance or an allergy, consult with your doctor or dietician for alternative dietary choices.
  4. Whittle your Waist - Obesity puts an enormous amount of pressure on your digestive system. If you are overweight, there is a higher risk of digestive ailments such as bloating, IBS, stomach ulcers, and constipation. Make sure you get enough exercise daily and eat a healthy balanced diet to start shedding those extra pounds.
  5. Go Pro - Include a lot more foods with probiotics into your daily diet such as yoghurt, soy milk and other dairy products that contain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, crème fraiche, kefir, and kombucha are also high in natural healthy bacteria.
  6. Wet your Appetite - Drink plenty of water in between meals to prevent constipation and reduce inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines. Avoid drinks such as carbonated sodas, caffeine and alcohol as they only increase dehydration.
  7. Mix It Up - Practice food pairing by combining only certain types of foods when planning your meals. For example do not pair fruit with protein as protein takes four to six hours to digest while fruits are digested in as little as fifteen minutes only to result in bloating, gas and stomach pain. There are several tables of correct food pairing available online. Alternatively speak to a dietician for more information on the same.
  8. Go Natural - There are a number of home remedies and natural ways to improve your digestion. For example, eat a handful of fennel seeds after every meal to reduce flatulence and constipation or steep mint leaves in hot water and sip on this tea to treat acidity and heartburn.
  9. Eating for Two - Pregnancy can cause a lot of problems with a woman’s digestion. Pregnant women are more likely to complain of heartburn, acidity, constipation, nausea, flatulence, and hemorrhoids due to the extra pressure put on the stomach and intestines when carrying a baby. During this time, it is important to stay clear of medications and resort to natural treatments instead.
  10. Take it with a Pinch of Salt - Salt has always received a bad reputation when it comes to our health. Linked with problems such as water retention and high blood pressure, it is inevitable that low-salt diets are now the rage. However salt plays a very important role in the process of digestion. Salt consists of sodium and chloride - both which help your body break down the food you eat and absorb the necessary nutrients.

Digestive problems could cause havoc in your life and therefore it is necessary to take proper care of your system.

References:

  1. http://www.bastyr.edu/news/health-tips/2011/09/hot-and-quick-digestion?NewsID=2326

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
More articles from the Diet Category