Our Prescribe 20-ers are working big-time on their digestion as we write this. Prescribe Nutrition is on a never ending quest to just feel our damn best – we want you there with us. Because it’s a massively popular and important topic, today we’re throwing out 5 tips to improve digestion. People seem to like lists. Specifically, they like short lists. Maybe you do some of these or you do none of these, but this is a good place to start if you have stomach problems, if your digestion is off and if you’ve had it. Alright, let’s get cracking:
Simple right? Apparently not. Sometimes when we sit down to a meal we act like we’ve just entered the Tour de France. Relax. It’s not going anywhere. Why do we this? Perhaps because we’ve gone too long without food…but that’s another post entirely. So why does chewing matter? Because digestion begins in the mouth – actually it begins in the brain when you look at the food. Just looking at this Thai curry bowl (you’re welcome) makes your brain produce enzymes to prep what’s about to come down the hatch. This process starts breaking down food before it hits the stomach. Big pieces of food in the stomach = more work for your belly and poor breakdown which leads to gas, bloating, heartburn, belching…and worst of all, can even lead to food sensitivities and allergies. So slow your roll. Alright this one’s a biggie. I kind of went for it with #2. Sometimes the whole gluten-free, sugar-free, lactose-intolerance thing gets a bad rap. People think it’s a trend. I’m going to tell you something – it’s not. We’re eating a LOT of foods these days we didn’t evolve eating. Food sensitivities and intolerances play a massive role in IBS symptoms and stomach problems. Most common culprits = gluten, dairy, sugar. Is it fun eliminating food? Not really. Can you do it? Yes. Working with a nutritionist, (or ahem, doing Prescribe 20), can be life changing on this one.
There are good guys and bad guys in the world of the gut. Heard of probiotics? Fermented food? These are things people are now recognizing play a huge role in gut health (which = overall health). Some liken gut flora to a “forgotten organ” due to the extensive role they play. More on that here. Whether it’s mild or severe digestive symptoms, when we work with clients, this is the first place to go. Natural ways to get it? Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, plain & full-fat yogurt, kefir and kimchi. Taking probiotics? All are not created equal, but definitely look for ones that contain the strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Sorry. This one sucks. Bottom line: the acid and enzymes that break everything down lose their working power when you’ve stuffed yourself full. Just take a break. Eating smaller meals can make the difference in everything from constipation to bloating.
Raw diets are rad in that you’re pretty much guaranteeing lots of fresh veggies, fruits, seeds and nuts in your diet, which is cool…but if you’re the type of person who eats a salad and has stomach problems (feels gassy, bloated, and maybe even gets loose stools or constipated), try switching to cooked veggies instead. Soups, light sautees, roasted veggies: these may be easier for you to digest. Some people do great with salads and raw veggies, but remember you and your cubicle partner do not have the same digestive system. So listen to your belly – pay attention to what foods work for your constitution. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s ideal for you.
And there you have it: 5 simple tips to help improve your stomach problems. Want to dig into this topic more? Join us in Prescribe 20, our 20 day energizing detox. We’ll work with you to get your digestion back in tip top shape.