7 ways to improve your digestive system without changing your diet
Did you know that your digestive system is the most selfish of all your body systems, after your brain? In fact, it’s a bit like a child who thinks their friend is being unfair. It folds its arms and says “that’s not fair and I’m not playing anymore!”. When you don’t treat your digestive system with the respect it deserves, it will begin to shut you off and not play properly. As a result, digestive problems begin to click in. We may experience indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and a whole host of other problems. So here are seven ways to avoid this, or if you are already experiencing this seven ways to improve these symptoms.
1) Get a good start to the day
Taking 10 minutes to be still and ease slowly into the day will help you to feel fresher. Add a mug of hot water with lemon and ginger tea to slowly wake up the digestive system. This sends a message to your digestive that you care about it and want to support and help it get prepared for the day ahead.
2) Good posture whilst eating
TV dinners and sitting at your desk whilst eating cause you to slump. If you are slumped your stomach is squashed, your reflex value at the top of your stomach cannot open properly and your digestive system is quite open for business. Long term this may end up wearing the reflex valve down and causing it to weaken. This may lead to indigestion and acid reflux resulting in constant indigestion problems. In other words, your digestive system folding its arm and saying ‘that’s not fair, and I’m not playing anymore!’.
3) Slow down and smell your food
What? Yes, smell your food! Why? Because you need to prepare your body for digestion. Smelling, or at least taking a moment or two to appreciate what you are about to eat will help to stimulate your digestive juices, getting them ready to attack and break down your food. This is imperative if you want food to safely and smoothly pass through your digestive system without farting, belching, bloating or cramping. Remember to smell your food so your friends, colleagues and family don’t have to smell your farts.
4) Chew slowly
Take one mouthful and slowly chew your food. Your saliva has digestive enzymes that need to be chewed into the food before it reaches the stomach. If you neglect this, then food will not be broken down properly and will pass through the stomach and small intestines and into the larger intestines where the bacteria will and does emit very smelly gas. It also means that you will not absorb the nutrients that you need for the rest of the body which over time may result in a poorer immune system, tiredness and weight issues.
5) Reduce fluid intake at meal times
Sipping water during a meal is fine, however, gulping down fizzy drinks, tea, coffee and other drinks may be a recipe for disaster. Excess fluid during eating dilutes the stomach acid which is required to break down proteins and fats in the diet. The rest of the digestion may take offence at this and start causing havoc and resulting in a few embarrassing side effects.
6) Add foods that will aid digestion
Eating certain food before or during a meal may help to aid digestion. This includes pineapple, papaya, olives or bitter foods such as rocket, watercress, radicchio, dandelion leaves etc.
7) Avoid snacking
In other words, ‘give it a rest’. This is a common phrase you use with children if they are constantly moaning about life being unfair! Allowing your digestive system to rest between meals can be quite restorative. It allows the digestive system to clear down a bit like vacuuming your carpet. Who doesn’t like a nice clean carpet? A well balanced diet with protein at each meal will help you feel fuller for longer and help you give your digestive system a rest between meals.
Unless you start respecting and caring for your digestive system, it eventually going to go into "life’s not fair" mode and quite literally start kicking up a stink!
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About Marie Jarvis
Marie Jarvis is a nutritional therapist in the Glasgow area. She attained a diploma in nutritional therapy at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is registered with BANT and CNHC.