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10 Tips to Improve Digestion

10 Tips to Improve Digestion

Digestion is considered the foundation of optimal health in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Any issues of gas, bloating, constipation, reflux or heartburn that occur more than 25% of the time most likely indicates digestive issues. Improving digestion may result in weight loss, resolution of heartburn, gas and bloating issues, as well as improved energy levels and mental clarity.

  1. No snacking – yes, I know there is the 3 meals versus the 6 meals per day camp. I promote the 3 meals per day camp.  Here’s why…it takes at least 2 hours and perhaps up to 6 hours for the stomach to process food taken in during one meal.  That means if you snack an hour or two after your meal, you have some food that is partially digested in the stomach already mixing with food that is undigested.  Now say, the stomach empties sends this undigested food out with some of the digested food.  Well, each stop along the digestive tract requires the completion of the one prior, so the undigested food sent out interferes with the absorption of nutrients that takes place in the small intestine and the elimination that takes place in the large intestine.  Yes, simplified, but you get the point.  This may result in feeling sluggish and weight gain over time.
  2. Take sips of warm water with meals and don’t drink large amounts of fluids in the hour before or the hour after meals. A large amount of fluid consumed during meals or in the hour before and/or after a meal dilutes the stomach acid, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the acid’s digestive ability.
  3. Avoid cold beverages. Think of the stomach as a pot on a stove. Adding cold things to it decreases the cooking temperature, which thereby reducing digestive effectiveness. Also consider what happens when ice-cold water is dumped on our bodies. We contract and try to get away.  Hmmm…I wonder what is happening on the inside?!
  4. Avoid carbonated beverages.  Carbonated beverages plain and simple add gas to our systems.
  5. Avoid chewing gum. We swallow a lot of air when we chew gum and that builds up in our digestive tracts adding to issues of gas and bloating over time.
  6. Walk for 5-15 minutes after eating. Walking stimulates the intestines. Also there are acupuncture points on the feet that stimulate digestion and walking activates these acupuncture points!
  7. Eat a simple and light meal at supper by 7 pm.
  8. Take milk separate from meals. Ayurveda considers milk a complete meal by itself.  It’s recommended to be taken in warm after being boiled with spices such as turmeric, ginger and a touch of pepper. This reduces the mucus causing properties of milk. It is also recommended to use organic whole milk from grass feed cows that is non-homongized.
  9. Take fruit separate from meals. Fruit should be eaten alone or with other fruit on an empty stomach. This is because fruit is digested very quickly and our body uses different enzymes to digest the fruit than it uses to digest other foods. Eating fruit with a meal results in the fruit being held in the stomach too long along with other foods causing fermentation in the gut. The end result is the experience of indigestion, heartburn, and gas.
  10. Toast whole, organic fennel seeds lightly, then chew a pinch of them right after eating.

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