The health of your gastrointestinal tract, also known as your microbiome, plays a significant role in your overall health. The following tips will help you achieve optimal digestion.
Did you know that your emotional state can affect your body’s digestion? Stress can inhibit your body’s ability to properly digest food. When you breathe from your diaphragm prior to eating, you engage the parasympathetic system and relax your body. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly – when you do this, hormones will kick in that will make you feel fuller faster. You can even lose weight just by improving your breathing before and during meals and chewing your food more.
You already know drinking water is good for you – in fact, you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day, and add one liter of water for every hour of exercise. There are several ways you can maximize your water intake and absorption. One way is to drink water with Himalayan sea salts. Before you balk at the mention of salt, bear in mind that sodium is a mineral your body requires for optimal function, and and it’s only if you have salt sensitive hypertension that you have to minimize your salt intake. Additionally, himalayan salt is a natural salt, very different from Morton salt, which is highly processed with known contaminants. Another way to get the most health benefit from drinking water is to start your day by drinking a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in. The lemon juice alkalizes the stomach which in turn increases stomach acid and allows the water to be absorbed faster and preps the stomach for good digestion.
Stomach acid is typically 1.5-2 PH, but many people who take medication for acid reflux and heartburn do not have strong enough stomach acid to support healthy digestion. To test your stomach acid, consume a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. If your stomach PH is within normal levels, you should feel some discomfort; you can then consume a teaspoon of baking soda to alleviate the discomfort. If you don’t feel any difference, your stomach acid PH may not be sufficient for proper digestion. It would be good to take ¼ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a quarter cup of aloe vera juice before meals to improve your digestion.
The small intestine is where the absorption of nutrients happens. If you experience abdominal bloating, loose stool, belching after meals, cramps, headache one hour after eating, poor appetite, feel worse after you eat, crave certain foods, abdominal pain, or diarrhea after eating, you may have food intolerance.
One very common food intolerance is gluten. People with celiac disease experience the most severe reactions. An estimated 1% of the population of the U.S. have celiac disease, but even people without celiac disease can have a gluten sensitivity and experience symptoms. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include inflammation, aches, and abdominal pain.
Gluten is actually a way to collectively refer to two proteins, gliadin proteins and glutelin proteins. They are responsible for giving dough its elasticity and bread its chewy texture. When you have a gluten sensitivity, ingesting it will trigger an immune response. Over time, gluten proteins can even damage the intestinal wall.
If you think you may be sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, try this food elimination challenge: avoid gluten, sugar, and grains for 21 days. Slowly introduce each of them one at a time. If you experience bloating, racing heart, irregular bowel movements, or sleep issues, then stop and avoid that food. Consume bone broth and brown rice for 3 days before trying the next food. Consuming 1 liter per day of broths such as organic beef and chicken broth heals the gut and soothes the gastrointestinal tract.
Familiarize yourself with the typical schedule of your gastrointestinal tract. When this schedule is disrupted, it can be an indication that something is wrong. You should have at least one bowel movement per day. The job of the large intestine is to remove toxins. If food is taking too long to move through your large intestine bad bacteria can build up and toxins can reach your liver.
Check your elimination daily:
Consuming prebiotic and probiotic foods can significantly improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotic foods include fruit and vegetables such as apples, bananas, garlic, asparagus, and leeks. Probiotic foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough, cottage cheese, and dark chocolate. That’s right – eating chocolate is good for your gut! High-quality colostrum also heals and seals the gut. You can order some guaranteed high-quality colostrum here (link Lita is going to provide where people can purchase on her site).
Good digestive health is key to a functioning immune system. Aches pains caused by inflammation, chronic allergies, insomnia, congestion, hormone imbalance, and even autoimmune disease are all signs of a leaky or disrupted digestive system.
Long-term gut issues can lead to chronic disease, fatigue, brain fog, and many more health issues. If you find you are having gut issues that persist for more than a month and are not improved by the above tips, please click the button to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me. Together we can get you on the road to optimum health.