Digestion is not only about the foods you eat but it is also about how you consume them as well as your daily activities.
Many of us think that digestive issues are only about the food and drink we consume but there is so much more to it than that. Let’s put food aside for sake of this article and talk about other ways in which you can support your digestive system. The below points are holistic ways which you can incorporate into your daily life to improve your digestion;
- Mindful Eating – Eat sitting down with no screens in sight (you don’t need to be connected to your phone or laptop whilst eating). By visualizing your food your brain informs the stomach of digestive activities. I am huge advocate of mindful eating and always try my best to sit down away from my laptop and phone even when I am in a rush! How many times have you eaten something, a packet of nuts lets just say for the sake of the argument, then you look down and they are all gone and you hadn’t even realised you had eaten them?!Take control over your eating habits and pay attention to what you are eating, enjoy your meal, sit down and pay attention to the flavours, textures and smells. Listen to your body and learn to stop when you are full. I know it sounds silly but when you are eating, try and just eat and stop everything else you are doing – get rid of the distractions!
- Chew your food – It sounds so simple however a lot of us don’t do it. Learn to slow down and chew your food. The process of digestion starts with visualising and then chewing your food, chewing breaks down your food into smaller particles which therefore make them a lot easier to digest. Chewing also signals the body to start the digestion process by coating your food with saliva and informing the stomach to produce stomach acid to ensure proper digestion. By not chewing your food properly it can lead to bloating and over eating! Research shows that chewing your food and taking longer to consume your meal will result in you eating less preventing any weight gain – bonus!
- Movement – Get your body moving on a daily basis. I love the term, movement = movement! Regular exercise and getting your body moving helps keep food moving through your digestive system as well as reduces constipation. Go for a walk on you lunch break after you’ve eaten your meal, wake up early and do some stretches and breathing techniques on your living room floor. It doesn’t have to be high intensity, the main thing is to try and get your body moving more on a daily basis and minimise the amount you sit down at your desk or in your car.
- Squat –Did you know that about 1 in 7 adults suffer from chronic constipation – that is a huge amount! As human beings, we were designed to squat and not sit upright on the toilet. When we squat, gravity does most of the work as the weight of our torso presses against our thighs which then compresses against our colon. My advice to you is, if you are having problem pooping – squat down on your bathroom floor in the morning upon awakening, take 10 deep slow breaths in through the nose and out through the move. Once you have completed the 10 breathes, then get up and go to the toilet. I can guarantee you it will help you go to the loo! If you are after more help then check out the amazing ‘squatty potty’ online! I keep hearing many good things!
Take control over your habits today by applying the above simple principles. I think it is so important to get the fundamentals right first and then incorporating a diet packed full of fibre, wholefoods and lots of water to compliments it.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me privately.