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Our guts bare the brunt of all of our bad food and drink choices. Unfortunately, we tend to treat our stomach like a trash can… assuming it will figure out how to deal with our not-so-good food choices.  Over time the mucous membrane in our stomachs and intestines degrades and can cause some rather unpleasant health symptoms.

Some of these symptoms can include:

  • Bloating
  • Acid Reflux
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Inability To Lose Weight
  • Heart Burn
  • High Cholesterol
  • Gas
  • Frequent Colds and Infections
  • Sensitivities To Foods

Creating optimal digestion in the body is the key to improving health and ensuring that your body is being well nourished.

These following 3 easy steps may seem simple to you. So simple in fact that you could easily dismiss just how powerful they are. If you are suffering from any digestive related health symptoms and before you reach for an antacid or a pharmaceutical medication, give give these a try.

1. CHEW. CHEW. CHEW.

Have you heard this tip before? You want to chew your food until it becomes a soupy mess in your mouth. This is especially important for carbohydrates. Digestion starts in your mouth.

Your saliva contains special digestive enzymes that work hard to ready your digestive system to help break down the food you choose to eat so that it can be better absorbed.

In addition to the digestive enzyme amylase that gets secreted in your saliva, chewing signals to your liver to secrete bile which causes the gallbladder to contract. Your gallbladder is responsible for catching the bile to help digest fat. Without bile, your body isn’t able to efficiently digest fat and can cause some painful stomach pains not to mention irregular and unfulfilling bowel movement.

2. SKIP THE FLUIDS.

Yes, that’s right… we are telling you to avoid drinking while you are eating. Most people only consume water at meal times leaving them with heartburn and the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated.

Not only should you avoid drinking water at meal times, we strongly suggest skipping anything carbonated or caffeinated with your meals or snacks.

Your digestive enzymes are strong acids and the fluids you drink while eating dilute acids. You do not want to dilute your potent digestive enzymes.

Avoid drinking 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after your meal. If you need to drink, slowly sip clear fluids but keep it to a minimum.

3. DE-STRESS BEFORE EATING.

Digestion is a parasympathetic nervous system function. This means that if your body is under stress digestion shuts off. While our environment has progressed and become more civilized our digestive system is still very caveman like.

When there is a stressful stimulus our bodies automatically run through a physiological stress response which shunts blood away from the stomach to support working muscles in times of stress.

This is where the common rule of don’t go swimming right after you’ve eaten or your will get a cramp came from.

The body can’t mobilize for a stress response and digest food at the same time. So if you find yourself crazed, upset or stressed out during meal times it’s better to choose foods that are easier to digest.

Shakes, soups, steamed vegetables, fruits or complex grains are your best choices. Avoid protein and fats when you are stressed out because they are harder to digest.

Create a meal time ritual where you practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing and gratitude before your meal. Or, simply, just slow down.  Don’t eat in the car or during a work meeting.  Relax and enjoy each bite.

If you are having digestive system issues like the ones described above or you want to know the specific strategies to improve digestion then give me a call at 613-324-2742.  Because we’re not just what we eat… we’re what we absorb.

Yours in Health,
Patricia Jean-Vézina, RHN

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