Cure Digestive Problems Naturally with These Tips
We often don’t want to talk about digestive difficulties because we feel it’s inappropriate or embarrassing. But the reality is that many Americans suffer from some kind of stomach problem or another, and often making only a few changes to our eating habits can fix the problem entirely, or dramatically improve it at least. You don’t need to live with daily pain or discomfort.
Digestive problems come in many forms. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Indigestion or Heartburn
- Bloating and/or Gas
- Stomach or Abdominal Pain
And some of the more common diagnoses include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
Our digestive health depends largely on what we eat. But not only that, it also depends on how we eat. Here I’m addressing more on the how than the what. Changing a few of your daily eating habits will go a long way in improving your digestion. Treat digestive disorders naturally by implementing these habits:
Eat Slowly and Chew Thoroughly
If you remember one thing from reading this, let it be this one. You should chew every bite about 30 times. How many of us really do this? There is also an expression that you should chew your liquids and drink your solids – meaning that you should chew solid food until it is a liquid, and chew your liquids like soups and smoothies to mix the contents fully with saliva.
Savor and really taste your food. Thoroughly tasting and chewing in the mouth is crucial for healthy digestion. Our digestion secretes different things depending on the kind of food we eat, and this begins with taste. When we chew and taste properly, we allow the brain to send the proper signals to the lower digestive organs to mobilize the proper digestive processes depending on the type of food we are eating.
Avoid eating in a hurry or while under stress. Sit down and relax when you eat and make it the only thing you do at that moment, besides talking to friends and loved ones.
Overeating puts pressure on our organs, and if we consistently eat too much, it will cause a deterioration of our digestive system, and physical body in general. Overeating also makes us feel tired and sluggish, and foggy in the head.
It takes time for the stomach to signal to the brain that we are full. If you eat slowly, you will avoid eating too much. Remember the one most important thing?! Slow down…slow down…slow down…! This is key!
Allow Digestion to Rest
Your food takes between six and eight hours to pass through your stomach and small intestine. It takes a further 40 hours on average to transit through the large intestine or colon. Eat early at night so that there are enough hours between dinner and breakfast to allow the digestion in the stomach and small intestine to rest and clean out before you eat again.
Eat Only When You Are Hungry
This sounds like a no-brainer, but we are often conditioned by the societal norm of three meals daily at specific times. “Oh, it’s noon, I must have lunch”. And so on. Sometimes we are only thirsty. Or sometimes we are actually stressed out or just plain bored and looking for food to soothe and occupy us.
Only eat when your body is hungry for food. Sit down and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and tune into your body and ask if it’s hungry for food. Your body might actually want some emotional food like a hug or embrace from a loved one, or it might crave some mental or creative stimulation. We are fed by lots of things besides just physical food. In general, modern western humans eat far more than is needed for survival. Eating less in general has been shown to correlate with longer, healthier lives. So only eat when you are truly hungry for physical food.
Eat More Simply
Ancient yogis used to eat no more than five ingredients in a meal. These days, we could easily have over 50 when we count all the ingredients in the modern food supply. Five ingredients might sound severe and may not be achievable, but you get the idea: simplify!
Start becoming aware of the number of ingredients in a meal and start lowering it. This will be hard when eating out, and that’s okay. But it’s also kind of the point. When you eat out, you have no idea what things restaurants put into your food. They are usually cooking for taste and not for health. Also, as stated before, our body uses different digestive resources for different kinds of foods. If we eat 50 different things, our digestive system quickly gets confused and overwhelmed and isn’t able to properly process everything.
Take a Break from EatingFasting is probably the most powerful thing we can do to help heal our bodies. We live in a toxic world, and fasting allows us to clean out and heal on a deep level. Think of it like the factory that closes once a year for deep cleaning and maintenance, or to install new equipment. Maybe a juice fast once a week or month is what your body needs. Or you may try a water fast once a year. If you’re new to this type of thing, maybe just try lightening up your diet by cutting back on meat and dairy products for a week or two. Experiment with different things and see what works for you.
Pay Attention to What You Eat
Take note of what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat. You’ll soon see a pattern and realize certain habits and foods trigger your symptoms. The first thing you should do is to avoid the foods and behaviors that cause strong symptoms. If you’re not sure where to start on what foods to eat, begin by eliminating the most common problematic foods: sugar, gluten, and dairy products. Then make sure you are eating lots of high fiber vegetable. A high-fiber diet is often the best to treat common digestive conditions. Aside from this the other basics of drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and lowering your stress levels are also very helpful. As anyone who has had butterflies in their stomach when nervous can attest to, stress often manifests in the belly!
Give these a try and let me know how it goes. As a side note, these are also extremely helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. And if you still struggle with your digestive system after implementing these habits, or just don’t know where to start – reach out to me so we can discuss your condition.
Say no to frequent digestive pain and discomfort!