Updated: Mar 5
Optimal #digestion is everything. If you can’t digest and absorb #nutrients from your food, you can never use those nutrients to rebuild your cells and tissues. It’s not what you eat- it’s what you digest. This is why many people still experience chronic illness when they are eating a whole food, nutrient dense diet.
Adequate stomach acid levels is where digestion truly begins. Everyone wants to ensure they are producing enough digestive #enzymes but they often forget that you need stomach acid in order to do this. Without enough stomach acid, the enzymes stay inactive. Stomach acid also stimulates your pancreas and small intestine to produce digestive enzymes and bile which is necessary to further breakdown the food you eat.
How we eat plays a massive role in how we digest our food. It can affect our stomach acid levels, digestive enzyme production and bile release. These are probably the 3 biggest components to healthy digestion along with gut flora and your microbiome.
3 simple changes you can start making today to better your digestive health:
Eat in a calm, relaxed environment. Please stop eating on the run or in the car and avoid using electronics if possible. Make sure you are sitting upright while you’re eating and for the next 2 hours for proper digestive flow. I recommend taking 3 big deep breaths before each meal. This will allow you to be present while eating and listen to the hunger/fullness cues of your body. By doing this, you will activate your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) which will allow the production of adequate digestive enzymes. Having feelings of stress and anxiety can shut down digestive function completely.
Avoid drinking water or any liquid with meals as well as 30 minutes before/after. If you really need a drink, small sips of water are okay. However, drinking water with meals actually promotes indigestion as water dilutes the stomach acid and digestive enzymes we secrete when we are eating. This hinders the breakdown of food and thus absorption of nutrients. If you are drinking sufficient amounts of water between meals, you should not be exceptionally thirsty anyway.
Slow down and chew each bite of food thoroughly! Did you know that digestion actually begins in the mouth? Our saliva supplies us with enzymes to help break down our food which is why we want to avoid drinking water with meals. You don’t want to use water as a substitute for saliva as you are missing out on the salivary enzymes needed to digest starches. In order to assist in the break down of food, I recommend small bite sized portions- don’t inhale your food. You should be chewing each bite around 20-40 times before you swallow and it should take you at least 15 minutes to finish a meal. Set a timer if you have to! This will not only help you feel full and satisfied but will make it a lot easier on your small intestine to absorb nutrients.