Did you know that 1 out of every 5 Americans suffers with digestive discomfort? Most of that is unnecessary, but many people ignore it or don’t talk about it until it begins affecting other aspects of their health.
At The Whole Journey, we always say, “digestion is the cornerstone of all health”. It really is the center of the human health universe. If you are not digesting properly, it is impossible to have a healthy thyroid, balanced hormones, energy, good moods, or a properly functioning immune system.
Let’s have a look at my top 5 tips how to improve digestion natuarlly and get a dramatic positive shift with your digestive wellness by the end of the day!
1. Drink 16 Ounces Of Water As Soon As You Wake Up
Drinking 8 ounces of water upon waking will stimulate metabolism and let the body know it’s awake and to rev the engine for the day. The second 8 ounces will touch every single organ and gland and get the digestive system flushed from the toxins/acid it collected for elimination while sleeping.
Adding the juice of half a lemon will assist the process of flushing excess acid from the stomach to the intestinal tract so that more of the “bad acid” can be eliminated, thus providing a healthy biochemistry and digestive system for you during the day.
2. Don’t Combine Fruit With Other Carbohydrates
Nobody likes to talk about gas, constipation, and bloating, but nobody likes to have it either. The number one way to cut down on these uncomfortable symptoms is to not combine fruit with other carbohydrates.
So no bananas on your (Paleo!) cereal, no strawberries on your oatmeal, and no mixing blueberries as a desert right after you’ve eaten a sweet potato with lunch or dinner.
This rule often shocks my clients when I tell them this because many of us have been doing this our whole lives, at many, many meals.
You see, the fruit wants to, and should digest first, but when you combine it with a carbohydrate like a grain or potato, then you create competition for digestion because they have similar digestion rates (protein and fat take much longer to digest).
In this competition, the fruit never wins.
The other carbohydrates beat the fruit to the digestive finish line and the fruit must wait, putrefying and fermenting (creating gas and bloating and killing good bacteria) while it does.
A good rule of thumb is to eat your fruit 30 minutes before a meal or an hour after. If you have strong digestion, you can combine fruit and nuts together and not have a problem. And the hard and fast rule for all kinds of melon is “eat it alone, or leave it alone.” I have had so many clients have 50% of their digestive issues clear up right away when they apply this one simple rule of food combining.
3. Enzymes And Good Bugs
Enzymes catalyze a reaction, meaning speed up the digestive process. They help break down our food and deliver it where it needs to go, which will feed the thyroid and give us energy. However, many of us are eating too fast or not eating the right types of foods to produce enough enzymes, thus our food sits like a rock in our stomach.
Step one is to chew your food 20 times per bit. This may sound onerous at first, but it’s the most holistic way to train your body to produce more of its own enzymes (which are produced in saliva).
Find a good, multi-spectrum digestive enzyme at your local health food store if your digestion is especially poor as this will be a good “band aid” while you are working on improving your digestive health.
Another part to the biochemical digestive equation is good bacteria or having enough probiotics to keep life in the digestive tract. The good bacteria inform our immune system and also help us to digest our food.
I suggest taking a multi-strain (not just acidophilus) probiotic daily at night before bed away from food and/or adding in one serving of fermented foods (like raw sauerkraut) to your diet 5 times a week.
4. Balance Stomach Acid
Creating and maintaining the appropriate acid balance in the stomach is a hugely important yet challenging task. When acid imbalance is prolonged it may result in unhealthy absorption and digestion within the GI tract.
It’s important for stomach acid to be in balance not only because it help us breakdown and absorb nutrients, but it creates a much needed and important barrier to invading organisms and destroy yeast, parasites, bad bacteria, and mold that do find their way in.
The best food based way to build hydrochloric acid (HCL) is to chew on a small slice of ginger before a meal. Get the juice out of the ginger and then throw away the remaining pulp. Ginger naturally stimulates the body to produce HCL. Another alternative is to use raw apple cider vinegar with meals or in water before meals to stimulate HCL production.
5. Avoid Food Sensitivities
The body is like a car. Without the right fuel, it just won’t function properly. Almost all of us have a sensitivity to one of these foods: wheat/gluten, corn, dairy, and soy. If that’s not enough reason to GO PALEO, not sure what is.
The best way to know your formula is to run an IgG food sensitivity panel with a health care practitioner. If that is not possible, then an elimination diet is a most useful tool to find your unique formula. Try eliminating these foods one at a time for a period of three weeks. If you are sensitive to any one of these foods, your body will let you know.
Please let me know what you think in the comments below. And have you done the above to improve your digestion?
(Read This Next: The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Digestion)