By Michelle Stafford, RHN
After meals, do you ever feel tired, bloated or gassy? Some of you may experience heartburn, indigestion, acne or constipation/diarrhea. These are just a few symptoms that are warning signs that your digestive system may be compromised. Digestion is the process whereby food is broken down, nutrients are absorbed and waste is excreted. It all seems fairly simple, but in reality, digestion is a very complex process. It is important to get your digestion system working properly for optimal nutrient absorption.
Tips for Improving Digestion
- Avoid drinking large amounts of liquids before, during and after meals because liquids dilute gastric juices that aid in digestion.
- Avoid eating meals in a rush; take the time to enjoy your food. Relax….take a load off!
- Digestion starts in the mouth, so be sure to chew your food properly. The more you chew the more saliva is produced. Saliva has enzymes that help breakdown food, allowing proper digestion.
- Be aware of food combining, as this can decrease digestion overload. Proteins can be eaten with vegetables only. Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach, thirty minutes before meals, or two hours after meals. Vegetables can be eaten with anything, except fruits. Also, starches and proteins shouldn’t be eaten together.
- Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, smoking, and coffee, as they all interfere with the digestion process.
- Increase your intake of pineapple and papaya, as these fruits have excellent digestive enzyme content.
- Drink your tea! Try drinking peppermint or ginger tea to help with bloating and dispelling gas.
- Before meals drink aloe vera juice. Aloe has a variety of naturally occurring detoxifying and healing properties…it’s rich in enzymes and vitamins too!
- Try eating foods that are rich in enzymes – raw foods are great, however they can be potential irritants. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods (gas, bloating, heartburn, fatigue, mood swings).
- Eat plenty of fibre, 15 to 25 grams per day, as fibre allows for proper elimination…what goes in must come out!
- Portion control is essential. Try eating a little less the normal… …wait a few minutes for the food to land before opting for seconds. It’s easier for the body to digest small portions of food.
- Contact a Registered Holistic Nutritionist to help determine why your digestion may be compromised. Every individual is unique…and there are many underlying factors that may hinder your digestion, such as nutritional deficiencies, parasites, bacterial overgrowth or food allergies.
Michelle Stafford is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN). She practices throughout the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. For private consultation, you can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org