Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. No, we’re not about to sell you Pepto-Bismol. We’re talking about the most common symptoms we see in our clients and P20 participants. And we know digestion problems are NOT fun. So we’ve put a list together of our top five tips for better digestion. Try one or all and see what works for you!
1 | Chew Your Food
Simple, right? It sounds obvious… you’re probably saying, “Of course I chew my food!” But the truth is, most people rush through meals without chewing their food thoroughly.
So why does chewing matter so much? Because digestion begins in your mouth – actually it begins in your brain when you start thinking about or looking at the food. Just looking at these Balsamic Braised Short Ribs (you’re welcome) signals your brain to tell your mouth and stomach to start producing enzymes to prepare for what’s coming. When you chew your food thoroughly, it physically breaks down the food but also allows enzymes in your saliva to start chemically breaking down fats and carbohydrates. It’s important that food is broken down before it hits your stomach. Too many big pieces of food in the stomach = more work for your belly which leads to gas, bloating, heartburn, belching, and even food sensitivities and allergies. So, the next time you sit down to eat, remember to relax and take time to chew. Your food isn’t going anywhere.
2 | Address Food Sensitivities
Sometimes the whole gluten-free, sugar-free, lactose-intolerance thing gets a bad rap. People think it’s a trend. We’re here to tell you it’s not. Food sensitivities and intolerances play a massive role in IBS symptoms. I repeat MASSIVE. Some of the most common culprits are gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol (the foods we recommend eliminating during Prescribe 20). Is it fun eliminating food? Not really. Can you do it? Yes. Plus, working with a nutritionist or doing a group elimination challenge (like P20) can make it a lot easier and more enjoyable.
3 | Increase Good Gut Bacteria
There are both “good guys” and “bad guys” living in your gut. Heard of probiotics? Fermented foods? These are the “good guys” and play a huge role in gut health (which contributes to overall health). Some liken the gut flora to a “forgotten organ” due to the extensive role they play in our health and wellbeing. More on that here. Whether you’re experiencing mild or severe digestive symptoms, you can’t go wrong by first addressing your gut health. Start by adding fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, plain organic yogurt, kefir, low-sugar kombucha and/ or kimchi. You may also want to add a targeted or multi-strain probiotic. We recommend a spore-based probiotic or a multi-strain probiotic that contains the strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. If you’re looking for a more specific or personalized recommendation, be sure to ask us! Or head on over to FullScript to check out our favorites and get a sweet discount on professional grade probiotics and other supplements.
4 | Don’t Guzzle Water
We’re all for hydrating but too much water (or any liquid) with meals can actually hinder digestion. Water dilutes your stomach acid and can lead to indigestion so try to drink your water between meals instead of with your meals. Small sips are fine just don’t gulp down a whole glass while you’re eating.
5 | The “Raw” Movement May Not Be For You
Raw diets are rad in that you’re pretty much guaranteeing lots of fresh veggies, fruits, seeds, and nuts in your diet. Which is cool…but if you’re the type of person who eats a salad and feels gassy and bloated afterward, try switching to cooked veggies instead. Soups, light sautees, and roasted veggies are way easier to digest. Some people do great with salads and raw veggies but remember – you and your cubicle partner do not have the same digestive system. So listen to your body and your belly. Pay attention to what foods work for your constitution. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s ideal for you.