Nutritionist Lexi Crouch shares five simple ways to naturally aid digestion, so that you can keep your bloating and tummy troubles at bay.
If digestion is slow and not functioning well, you might experience an array of symptoms that cause discomfort and affect day to day life including some unwelcome symptoms like flatulence. Digestion issues could also be at the root of acid reflux (heartburn), headaches and acne.
(Skin conditions like acne can arise due to poor fat absorption, low levels of the enzyme that helps break down fat in the body, ‘lipase’ – as well as the body’s inability to absorb the nutrients required to stay healthy and function well, such as Vitamin A, E and K).
The body is very intelligent and will be the first to let you know when undigested food is getting in the way. Bloating and discomfort upon finishing a meal, getting full quickly (early satiety), and feeling sluggish or tired after meals (a slow digestive system has to work hard and produce a lot of energy to break down a meal – therefore depleting energy stores and leaving you feeling fatigued) are some other signs your digestion may be in need of some help.
The good news is that digestion can be easily and naturally enhanced with these five simple lifestyle changes…
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1. Create a calm eating space
This may not always be possible but it is so important. The next time you eat, switch off the TV, put down the phone and focus on chewing. Slowing down your eating speed will benefit and enhance digestion. Eating in a state of stress or a busy environment, such as checking your phone and replying to emails on the go, doesn’t allow the body to rest and digest. You want to be eating in a parasympathetic state, which allows the body to properly absorb nutrients and digest at its best.
2. Add enzymatic food to your diet
Add enzymatic food to your diet such as papaya, pineapple, mangoes, bananas, kiwifruit, ginger and sauerkraut. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down protein, fat and carbohydrates so they are able to be absorbed and utilised by the body for energy which is all part of the digestive process.
3. Eaty plenty of fibre
Eat plenty of fibre to help move everything through the digestive tract and ease the feeling of sluggishness. Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and add bulk, which can help move things along.
4. Drink two litres of water a day
Water is involved in many important functions in the body and is essential for good digestion. It helps flush out waste from the body, which aids digestion, helps you digest food more effectively and also helps the body absorb nutrients.
5. Include probiotics in your diet
Probiotics are good bacteria for the body and can help break down indigestible fibres and assist with bloating and gas.
Lexi Crouch is a registered yoga teacher, nutritionist (BA Health Science – Dietetics and Nutrition at Endeavour College) motivational speaker and advocate for Eating Disorders Queensland and the Butterfly Foundation. You can follow her on Instagram.