Want clear skin? Improve your digestion. Want flat abs? Again, improve your digestion. Want a strong immune system? Good memory and concentration? Guess what. It all leads back to digestion.
According to a Scientific American article “Think Twice: How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being,” our gut has been nicknamed a “second brain” by some scientists, and for good reason. The small intestine contains more nerve cells than the spinal cord, as well as so many of the chemical substances that control the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Many people struggle with digestive issues such as heartburn, constipation, bloating, or gas, and often struggle to find the right medication to help heal their stomach and gut.
Healing is important, but in the search for health, don’t overlook the simple things you can do. Below are five tips you can easily incorporate into your daily life for improved digestion. Follow them and you may suddenly find yourself having more energy and less pain and looking better.
1. Calm Down
Take a few breaths before eating. Your gut communicates with your brain, and if you are all tied up in your gut and mind before eating, it will be very challenging to digest your food well. Follow the traditions of cultures around the world and take a moment of silence or say a prayer prior to eating. You will be able to calm down and eat with ease.
2. Chew More
The next step in the digestive process happens in your mouth. Take the time to chew more so that your stomach does not have to overwork in order to break down food.
Chewing more requires more time. The longer you take to eat food, the more likely you will eat less. This is because it takes time for food to travel into the stomach and for your brain to get the message that you are satiated.
People who eat too quickly often end up overeating and feeling tired and bloated after eating because it takes more energy to break down the unchewed food in the stomach. It is also harder to absorb the nutrients from the food if it hasn’t been broken down well before it hits the small intestine.
3. Drink Water With Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar
Contrary to popular belief, the stomach environment needs to be acidic. Add some lemon or apple cider vinegar to your water and drink it every day, 20 to 60 minutes prior to eating.
Doing this will not only cut your appetite, it will also help improve your digestion.
4. Maintain Good Posture
The stomach is a muscular organ that sits below the diaphragm. Massage the area beneath your left ribcage and you will feel your stomach. If you round your shoulders forward, you may notice how your stomach organ gets compressed.
Once the stomach is compressed, it will lead to a weakening of the stomach muscles, which are designed to pump and churn the food you ingested to help break it down further.
Sit tall and breathe deeply (stimulating your diaphragm), and you’ll notice how differently your stomach organ will feel. You may notice more space in the area as well as less irritation.
5. Cut Out Dairy
Dairy coats the stomach organ and breaks down the strong stomach lining designed to prevent acid from leaking out. If that lining becomes weak, you will suffer from issues such as GERD or ulcers.
Casein, found in dairy, is also one of the “most noxious food particulates that leak into the blood stream from the gut,” according to Andrea Nakayama of Holisticnutritionlab.com.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavendarmamas.com.