Top 13 Ways To Optimise Your Digestion
The simplest of things can make a world of difference.Proper digestion is the secret to good health. Constipation, bloating, gas, and acid reflux are signs of poor digestion, and need immediate attention. Poor digestion results in poor absorption, leading to deficiencies and weight gain.
Hence, it becomes imperative to take care of one’s digestion. Here’s how:
1. Chew your food properly –
It is very important to take small bites, and chew your food properly before swallowing. It is rightly said that digestion begins in the mouth. The saliva in the mouth semi-digests the food during mastication, making the work of the digestive system easier.
2. While eating, stick to just eating –
Nowadays, people are mostly engaged in other activities while eating, including watching TV, working on the computer, reading, etc. These extra activities hamper digestion, as the mind is not fully present in the act of eating. The mind being diverted leads to not chewing the food properly, and overeating.
3. Don’t eat fast –
In these fast-paced times, people just want to finish eating quickly, and get on with other work. This results in under-chewing, gulping food down, improper digestion, bloating, belly fat, etc. One must eat s-l-o-w-l-y, and with care.
4. Always sit and have your meal –
Meals should not be had standing, or while on the run. The body needs to be relaxed during mealtimes. With the nervous system relaxed, the digestive process works better.
5. Add digestive spices to your food –
While cooking complex protein or heavy foods, add spices that aid digestion, such as cumin, coriander, asafoetida, pepper, cinnamon, etc. These not only enhance the flavour of the food, but also help in breaking down complex molecules.
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6. Keep proteins to small portions –
Proteins are difficult to digest, and often lead to bloating and excessive intestinal fermentation. Keep the intake of the proteins small and light.
7. A small dose of raw, organic apple cider vinegar –
Apple cider vinegar helps digestion, and having a little bit of this vinegar mixed with water, before meals, will help the secretion of digestive juices. Of course, one must not do this in excess.
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8. Digestive tea –
Tea, devoid of milk, has digestive properties, especially green tea and chamomile tea. Therefore, drinking a small cup of tea after your meal is a good habit to cultivate.
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9. Avoid inflammatory foods –
Refined and packaged foods, apart from being unhealthy, can also cause inflammation in the gut. It is better to avoid these foods and concentrate on fresh, home-cooked food.
10. Include healthy probiotics –
Good bacteria are a must for proper digestion and a healthy gut. These bacteria are found in probiotic drinks, yoghurt, fermented foods etc. A regular intake of these is helpful for the digestive system.
11. Practice yoga –
There are certain exercises, especially yogic ones, which are excellent for digestion. A couple of these are vajrasana and pawanmuktasana. Learn these exercises, and practice them for a healthy gut.
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12. Follow the 80/20 rule –
It is important not to eat to your full, and to definitely not overeat. When the stomach is 20 per cent empty, digestion is better, as the food can be churned better. Just as you would not overstuff your washing machine, do not overstuff your stomach!
13. Beware of antacids –
We are in the habit of gulping antacids at the drop of a hat, but beware! Poor digestion is not always due to excess acid secretion, which we try to suppress with antacids, but could also be due to the under secretion of stomach acids. So first, investigate!
The tips above are general guidelines to improve your digestion. For curing digestive problems, the first port of call must be a doctor, who will be able to detect the underlying cause/s of the problem, and suggest cures.