More than 38 million Americans suffer from digestive issues. We eat on the go and we eat distracted. This lack of connection with eating can lead to digestive problems that range from indigestion, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea and can lead to bigger health problems down the road, like, irritable bowel, GERD, heartburn, leaky gut syndrome (as if the other problems didn’t sound attractive enough).
If you are one who suffers from chronic or occasional digestive issues, here is some valuable information and a few tips to try. Keeping a record of your experience is a great way to keep track of what is working for your body. Start an informal food journal for a few weeks noting your food and supplements, as well as the results you are experiencing, so you can adjust accordingly.
1. Chew your food! This is one of the most important tools for digestion. Chew and mix your food with your saliva to start the digestion process. Health Tip: Our body absorbs nutrients, not food! Nutrients are stored inside the cell walls of the food and chewing releases these nutrients.
2. Eat slowly and mindfully. Incorporate your senses when you eat. Sight, Smell and Taste - You know how your mouth starts to water when you see and smell food? That‘s the beginning of digestion! Your saliva increases once the food hits the tongue. Chew well to release the vital nutrients in your food. Health Tip: Eating slowly helps you recognize fullness and prevents over-eating.
3. Eat more raw fruits and veggies! Fruits and vegetables contain their own enzymes and work to ignite the body’s digestive system. Try eating your salad after your main course. Health Tip: The fiber and water in fruits and vegetables fill you up on fewer calories!
Below are natural remedies for the three most common types of food related stomach upset.
Our fast-paced society is only one culprit for the digestive issues we face daily. The human body is an amazing machine. There are few things we need to do to assist the body, like getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy balanced diet, and, should you choose, taking our vitamins and supplemental enzymes.
Enzymes are vital not only for the digestive process, but for overall health. Enzymes help protein break down into amino acids, carbohydrates into simple sugars and fat into fatty acids that your body absorbs as nutrients. However, we may not have all of the essential enzymes we need for optimal digestion. In fact, enzyme production naturally decreases with age, which is why many individuals may experience more frequent digestive issues as they get older.
Supplemental enzymes are available over the counter in tablet, capsule, powder and liquid forms. For maximum benefit, any digestive enzyme supplement you choose should contain all of the major enzyme groups - amylase, protease, and lipase. Honey, mango, pineapple and papaya are whole foods that contain natural digestive enzymes.
* You should check with your medical practitioner before taking supplements.
Author: Kristen Ciuba
Kristen is a Nutritionist at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. She tries to “practice what she preaches” by fitting in healthy foods and cooking, challenging exercise, and quality time with family and friends every day!