Are you feeling bloated? Sluggish? Fatigued? Cranky? Do you simply feel…not well? The solution to any or all of these issues may be due to your digestion.
Let’s talk digestion! Your digestive system says a lot about your overall health and lifestyle. So many people struggle with poor digestion without realising how many factors can contribute to the problem. Good digestion means digesting food and feeling great afterwards which includes no discomfort in the stomach, no gas and no major bloating.
When digestion is working at its best it means waking up in the morning with a flatter stomach, having energy, a desire to exercise, feeling more confident in your favourite clothing and most of all having better elimination. Bloating, gas, and constipation can easily affect mood, energy, sleep and a general lack of motivation.
Most importantly, when digestion works at its best it means that your body absorbs nutrients better. If you are eating fruit and vegetables alongside other foods and wonder why you do not feel so good it might be due to the other things you have on your plate. Many times some people complain that Brussels sprouts or too much fruit makes them gassy, but generally it has nothing to do with those foods.
There are many factors that can affect digestion from food to exercise to stress so let’s take a look at top tips for great digestion.
Fruit and Vegetables
We all know thats fruit and veggies are good for us, but how many of you are eating enough of them and feeling great eating them? To help aid better digestion of fruits and vegetables there are a few handy tips that will help you feel better.
- Eat fruit and raw vegetables during the day.
- Every day focus on lots of fruit and vegetables at all or most meals.
- After a cooked meal don’t eat fruit as fermentation and poor digestion can result. It is best to eat mostly raw fruit and veg during the day for breakfast and lunch then you can have a cooked meal dinner. For optimal digestion, this is an important food combining principle to remember.
- Eat greens with all meals. Simple greens, such as lettuce, kale, and celery, help to aid better digestion.
Pair fats (such as avocado and olive oil) with starchy foods (such as rice, quinoa and potatoes). Generally, fats and fruits don’t seem to pair well together for optimal digestion.
A top tip to start your day is drink water first thing in the morning. Not only does it hydrate the body, it also helps kick-start the digestive system to get things moving for better elimination. For good digestion drink water on an empty stomach, at least 15 minutes before meals. This is important because drinking liquid with meals can dilute the digestive juices required to digest the food, thus hindering digestion.
Minimise strong spicy foods, especially raw, such as chilli, cayenne pepper, jalapeno, garlic and onions. These foods in heavy amounts can be extremely irritating on the digestive system. If you suffer major stomach issues it would be helpful
to eliminate irritating foods to help aid a healthier digestive system. Some people may find they are ok with some spices but it can be a good idea to experiment to see what is causing issues with digestion. Food can taste delicious without all the seasoning!
Keep active every day. This can include a mix of gentle movement such as walking and stretching, yoga, swimming, running, cycling and strength training. You do not have to train with high intensity every day, sometimes over-exertion can cause stress to the body and upset the digestive system. Aim for a mix of slow paced movement and something to get the heart rate up. For example, Day One go for a 30 minute jog, Day Two a 45 minute strength training workout, and Day Three a steady 1 hour walk, and so on. Most of all enjoy being active.
Less Stress, More Sleep
This is one factor that can have a massive effect on digestion. Running a million errands everyday with less rest and sleep is causing major havoc on health in general, let alone all the problems it can cause with digestion and elimination. Eating and digesting food is a massive energy drainer on the body. Adding a lot of stress on top of that can cause the body to “freak out” as so much is expected from the body and it doesn’t have enough energy to give back. Learn to take some slack off your shoulders and reduce the to-do lists. Find time for yourself to relax, unwind and feel good every single day. What are the tasks that you have to do? And what are the tasks that can wait or simply do not need doing? You are important, your health is important, make that time for you. Make steps away from the things in your life which cause you stress. Find the things that make you laugh, smile, happy and simply content.
On top of this get a good night’s sleep every single night. Great sleep can aid good digestion as the better rested you are, the less stressed your body will be. Aim for 8 to 10 hours a night. If this seems too much then you might need to take it easy on all the tasks you are doing every day. Find that balance to support your health and fitness.
Beat the bloat and feel good. What tip will you try first?