This week I had the pleasure of speaking on behalf of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) on the importance of digestive health. When it comes to digestion so many of us struggle; stomach pains, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn and indigestion start the list of symptoms many of us face on a regular basis.
The good news is there are options when it comes to improving our digestion and ending the pain and discomfort that comes with many of our symptoms. Here are the top six tips you want to consider if you regularly suffer from digestive discomfort.
You are what you eat
The old saying is so true but, unfortunately for many of us, there is a big disconnect between what we put in our body and what we get out. In our society of overabundance, overeating is a regular (often daily) occurrence. Instead of eating to live, we live to eat. Often the food that we are eating is packaged and processed with little nutritional value, leaving us starving for more. What we put in is what we get out, garbage in = garbage out. Before you pop something into your mouth ask yourself, am I hungry? Is this food nutritious? When did I eat last? Why am I eating this? The answers to these four simple questions will determine if you should continue chowing down or hide the fork.
Timing is everything
Did you know it takes 20 minutes for our brain to receive the signal that we are full? When we eat too quickly we don’t give our brain enough time to tell us that we are actually full and to stop. When we eat too quickly, we can also take in too much air leading to extra gas and bloating. Slow down and chew, chew, chew your food.
Practice mindful eating
Many of us are guilty of eating in front of the TV, at our desk or in the car. Mindless eating easily leads to overeating because we have not enjoyed our food or actually noticed how much we shoved in. Take the time to tune out of whatever you are doing and tune into your food.
Don’t forgo fibre
When it comes to digestion fibre is king and aiming for 30 grams a day is key. There are so many benefits when it comes to eating fibre including, helping to control weight, keeping you feeling fuller longer, reducing blood cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, managing blood pressure and of course keeping you regular. You can learn more about the benefits of fibre and some simple tips to quickly and easily boost your fibre intake here.
Fresh is best
So often we rely on quick and convenient, packaged and processed foods that contain very little fibre or nutritional value. Eating whole foods full of the vitamins, minerals and fibre will not only help our digestion but our overall health.
Boost your good gut bacteria
Our good gut bacteria helps in the final stages of digestion, making sure our food is properly broken down. Having sufficient and strong good gut bacteria will significantly help your digestion. There is also a lot of research on a strong gut flora and improvements with our mood, skin and immunity. If you do have digestive issues it’s a good idea to talk to your health care practitioner about the benefits of a probiotic supplement.
For more information on digestion including more natural solutions for common digestive problems and tips to enhancing your inner eco-system visit chfa.ca. You can also watch my latest interview on digestive health, which include a fantastic digestive desert recipe, here.
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