5 Easy Ways to Enhance your Digestion

5 easy ways to enhance your digestion!

Recently digestion has become a hot topic in the world of functional medicine.  Studies have shown that up to

70% of our immune system lies in the gut.

Despite our advances in modern medicine, diseases continue to rise.  The most common diseases such as; arthritis, diabetes, leaky gut, IBS, CVD, and asthma are linked to inflammation which can largely correlate to the health of our gut.  The gut microbiome is a very complex system that involves every organ in your body beginning with your mouth and finishing at your anus.  If even one organ in the system is out of balance, the entire system becomes compromised. 

Compromised digestion= compromised vitality.

Optimizing your digestion helps to enhance your vitality by ensuring your body has the tools it needs in order to break down the very foods that give us life.

So, you want to increase your vitality?

You can start today by implementing these 5 tools the next time you sit down to enjoy your meal.

1.) Slow down

Often when the food gets to the table, we are so hungry we don’t even think to take a moment and pause.  By allowing ourselves time to pause, we give ourselves the space to enjoy what is happening around us, as well as check in to see how we feel inside.  This provides a great opportunity to see how much fuel our body is asking for which can prevent over-eating. Take a moment to be thankful.  Appreciate the experience, the people you are with, the energy of the room and of course the delicious food that is about to nourish your body.

2.) Mindfully chew

There are enzymes in our mouth which help to coat and break down our food before it enters the stomach.  In fact, the majority of sugars start to be broken down in the mouth by an enzyme called salivary amylase.  Just by chewing we can lighten the load for the rest of the digestive tract. 

Eating can be a pleasurable experience.  Why not take the time to fully enjoy it? Slowing down allows us the time to fully taste the sensation of each bite.  

Try chewing your food 10-20x before you swallow, become aware of what you experience.  Feel the texture, taste the flavors and notice how the experience changes in your mouth as you get to the end. 

3.) Eat until you are about 60% full

If you’re following the first two, this one becomes a breeze.  By slowing down and taking the time to chew, you help regulate the feedback loop between the gut and the brain.  This feedback loop is responsible for the release of ghrelin, the hormone that signals the brain when we are full. (1) 

4.) Avoid drinking before & during the meal

Drinking anything directly before a meal will decrease your body’s hydrochloric acid content (the main component in your stomach that helps break down food, primarily proteins.)  As the stomach is the second organ in the digestive tract, if we reduce its ability to function, the rest of the digestive system becomes stressed.

It’s best to be mindful of your fluid intake throughout the day.  If you need to drink during the meal take small sips; it’s best to wait until after the meal is finished.

5.) Drink Apple Cider Vinegar before each meal

This is an altogether enhancer! Apple cider vinegar is beneficial for the body in many ways, it’s great for the gut microbiome (make sure to get raw & uncultured if possible I prefer Braggs.) ACV also helps improve HCL.  

Taking a tablespoon about 15 minutes before each meal can help you balance the pH of your stomach making it easier to digest.  ACV can be hard to take at first; try adding a small amount of water can make it more palpable.

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There is a number of contributing factors that can play a part when it comes to compromising our digestion.  Some of these include; time you eat, the combination of foods, food allergies and more.  A great start to your mindful eating journey can begin right here by implementing these 5 steps.  Stay tuned for a later blog post where I’ll discuss more on ways to increase the digestability of foods when cooking at home.   

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