It's said that a healthy digestive system is the key to optimal health and wellbeing. Your digestive system not only breaks down your food so that it can be used effectively in the body, but it’s also linked to your immunity, your mental and emotional health, your stress levels, and your overall physical health. If you’re not digesting your food efficiently, your body could become stressed, which may decrease your overall levels of health and lead to a variety of conditions.
Here are our 5 simple tips to improve your digestion:
1. Minimise drinking water with meals
Whilst it’s very important to drink plenty of water each day, having it with food can actually impair your digestion. Drinking too much water, or any other liquids around meal times interferes with the natural levels of digestive enzymes and stomach acid, making it harder for your food to be digested properly. It is best to avoid drinking up to 15 minutes before eating, and approximately an hour after. If you do need water, simply take small sips rather than large mouthfuls, and choose warm or room-temperature water over cold water. Ensuring you drink water frequently throughout the rest of the day will help keep you hydrated.
2. Take 5 deep breaths before eating
This is such a simple, yet effective action which takes very little time and improves so many aspects of your life. Before rushing into a meal, sit comfortably, relax your body and take five slow deep breaths, concentrating on the air filling into your belly. This practice instantly moves your body and mind out of a stressed state and into a calm state. Being in a calm state activates digestion, increases your overall health and wellness, and brings you ‘into the now’, so you are able to enjoy your meal.
3. Enjoy your food and relax
Have you ever eaten something and realised afterwards that you didn’t even notice yourself eating it, let alone tasting it or enjoying it? By taking the time to be mindful while eating you can greatly improve your digestion. You can do this by simply tuning into your senses and feelings when eating; noticing the flavours, textures and smells of your food. Be aware of how your food is making you feel and note any sensations you are experiencing in your body. Avoid eating on-the-go or having distractions around you, such as phones or TV, and instead turn meal times into enjoyable experiences. Create a positive environment to eat in; present your food in ways that appeal to you, surround yourself with things that make you happy, share meals with friends and family, and allow yourself to appreciate and savour your food.
4. Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly
You may think that digestion starts in your stomach, but it actually begins in the mouth. The action of chewing stimulates the digestive system to be turned on, sending signals to other organs to prepare themselves. When we chew, digestive enzymes in our saliva are released, helping to further break the food particles down. Chewing food slowly and thoroughly until it is almost liquified is so important for digestion, as it reduces the strain on your stomach and small intestines. This allows them to work effectively and absorb nutrients so they can be properly utilised in your body.
5. Eat with gratitude and a positive mindset
Did you know that the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing while eating and digesting a meal are just as important as the types of foods you are eating? If you are in a stressed state or negative frame of mind when sitting down to a meal your body will actually handle food differently and not digest it efficiently. Instead, why not try switching to a positive mindset, focusing on aspects of your life that bring you joy, and being grateful for the food you are about to eat.
Next time you reach for some food, try one of these simple tips, noticing if it makes you feel any different. Your mind and body will love you for it!
This post was researched and written with love by our Marketing Communications Hero, Heidi Brockmann. We look forward to hearing more from her on our blog!
Heidi is a Sydney babe who's recently moved to Melbs, to join the KOJA team! She is very passionate about holistic health and inspiring others to live natural lifestyles. Her interest in the connection between our physical body and our emotional health lead her to study BodyMind Nutrition. She is currently training to become a Life Coach, Holistic Counsellor and Complementary Therapist.
Note: (Table image in this post sourced from Breakfast With Audrey)