Bloating, tiredness, gas, constipation? Believe me, we’ve all been there...
But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these three simple tricks you can put into action today:
1. Set the Scene With Some Bitters
Our modern diets often forgo bitter tastes, which is an incredible shame since bitter foods actually kick the digestive tract into gear and get all the essential digestive juices flowing -saliva, stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile respond when bitter taste receptors are stimulated. This means your food breaks down easier, nutrients are absorbed better and you reap the full benefits of that quinoa salad you had for lunch.
Some of my favorite bitter herbs to use are chamomile, milk thistle, gentian, yarrow & dandelion. Look for them in a liquid herbal tincture and place a few drops on your tongue 20 minutes before a meal in order to harness all those bitter superpowers. You can also use bitter foods instead of liquid herbs, try dandelion greens, rocket or artichoke.
And on top of all the digestive assistance, bitters offer some extra benefits: liver support, a decrease in sugar cravings and I don’t know if its just me, but I definitely feel an odd sense of accomplishment as my bitter tolerance grows.
2. Lay Off the Water
Now this one may come as a surprise, but drinking water with your meal often does more harm than good. Water dilutes the hydrochloric acid and increases the pH level in the stomach, making it harder for the body to break down incoming food. This can lead to a number of issues including bloating, reflux, fermentation, and flatulence -yikes!
Staying hydrated and drinking enough water is incredibly important, but make sure to leave a buffer zone of 30 minutes before and 1 hour after eating if possible.
3. Be Like a Train and Chew, Chew, Chew
Some people say digestion starts in the mouth, but that’s not completely true. Digestion begins the moment you start seeing, smelling or thinking about food. Notice the way your mouth waters? That’s all part of the process…
Saliva contains the special enzyme amylase, which starts to break down carbohydrates as you chew. The longer food is exposed to saliva through the chewing process, the easier it is for your body to absorb the nutrients within it.
Chewing is one of the few parts of the digestive process that we have conscious control over -and it’s a lot easier for the teeth to break down and liquify food than it is for the gut. Gulping down large chunks of food can cause unnecessary hardships further down the digestive line, so utilize those chompers!
In order to maximize your digestive potential, take smaller bites and challenge yourself to chew at least 21 times before swallowing.