Ten tips for healthy digestion
Here are some tips promote a healthy digestive system:
1. Chew food thoroughly and eat slowly. Put your fork down after each mouthful and be in a relaxed state before eating, prepare yourself for food.
2. Eat foods rich in fibre: oats, flaxseeds, fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses and lentils. However, start slow on this (especially if you have had a low fibre diet) and increase your intake gradually.
3. Eat foods rich in probiotics: plain natural yoghurt (dairy or non dairy), sourdough bread, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and olives.
4. Eat foods rich in prebiotics, this is what feeds the good bacteria in your gut to keep them there. These can include: leeks, onions, asparagus, garlic, apples and bananas.
5. Eat foods rich in digestive enzymes (enzymes help digest proteins), they can become low as we age or stressors on the body can also reduce them. Kick start them again by eating enzyme rich foods: kiwi, pineapple, raw vegetables such as carrots, celery and peppers and ginger – fresh ginger tea can be useful to drink first thing in the morning and vegetable juices.
5. Recognise any foods that may cause you trouble, record foods that cause symptoms such as wind, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Symptoms may appear days after eating a food and it may not be digestive symptoms you suffer from, other signs to look out for are headaches, migraines, skin complaints and mood changes.
6. Herbal teas may be useful to aid digestion: ginger, fennel, chamomile, peppermint are thought to have calming effects.
7. Slippery elm is a useful herb to have in the cupboard – it can come in tablets or a powder. For the powder, add a tablespoon to a mug of warm water with a sprinkle of cinnamon and drink. Slippery elm has soothing and calming properties, perfect for an inflamed digestive tract.
8. Drink six to eight glasses of water and or up to three herbal teas a day.
9. Increase exercise as this can help with constipation.
10. Find ways to relax, this can inclue reading, exercise, meditation, hot baths or a massage – try to incorporate these into your daily life.
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