Guest post from local Nutritional Therapist Sarah Gale
We've all heard the saying, "you are what you eat," but what about “you are what you eat, digest and absorb”?
Digestion is essential for our overall health and well-being. It involves a complex network of organs and tissues that work together to break down food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. A healthy digestive system ensures that the body receives the nutrients it needs to function optimally, and it also supports the immune system by protecting against harmful bacteria and viruses.
However, digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and acid reflux are relatively common (but not normal!) and they can often be improved by following some simple tips and habits.
That's where the ten digest-best commandments come in, providing practical advice to help support healthy digestion and overall well-being.
So, what can you do to optimise your digestion and get the most out of your meals?
Unwrapping food may be convenient, but it skips a vital stage of digestion called the cephalic phase. By preparing our food, we trigger the release of saliva, stomach acid, and enzymes, which help our digestive system prepare for the incoming meal. By preparing our food, even if it only takes 5 minutes, it gets the digestive tract ready.
Before eating, engage your brain by thinking about the colours, textures, smells, and sounds of your food. This mental exercise triggers the cephalic phase further and can enhance the digestive process, especially if you pre-prepared your meal.
Our ability to digest and absorb food is significantly reduced if we are stressed or multitasking. Try to eat without distractions, take your time, and enjoy your food.
Before eating, take a few deep breaths to calm your mind and body. This can help you relax and promote the release of digestive enzymes.
Avoid eating slouched on the sofa or in bed. Sitting upright at a table gives your digestive tract the space it needs to function correctly.
Chew your food thoroughly, to the point where it would be unrecognisable if you spat it out. This will help break down the food into smaller particles and make it easier for your body to digest.
Be present while eating, paying attention to the taste, texture, and sensation of each bite. This enhances digestion and absorption and helps you appreciate the meal more.
Bitter foods stimulate the production of bile, which aids in the digestion of fats. Eating a small salad with bitter greens before a fatty meal can help optimise the breakdown of the fats.
Drinking 1 tbsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar diluted in a little water before a meal can help stimulate the production of stomach acid, which is essential for breaking down proteins and preventing gut infections. If you have any history of stomach ulcers skip this one.
By eating mindfully, you should feel full a lot quicker. Try to stop eating when you start to feel full, not when your plate is empty. This allows your digestive system to work at its optimal level and avoid overeating.
These ten digest-best commandments may seem simple, but they can make a significant difference in how our bodies digest and absorb nutrients. From cooking from scratch to eating in a mindful state, taking care of our digestion can lead to better overall health and wellness.
So, the next time you sit down to eat, keep these commandments in mind, and you may find that you feel lighter, more energised, and nourished.
Sarah Gale is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Clinical Nutritionist DipION mBANT and hormone expert and helps women who just can’t lose weight break free of the diet cycle, rebalance their hormones and feel confident in their own skin again.
After a lifetime a hating her body and chronic yo-yo dieting, Sarah realised that yo-yo diets didn’t have the answers and by balancing her hormones, fixing her metabolism and working on her mindset she could finally lose the weight and get her self-confidence back.
You can find out more about Sarah and the services she offers over at Sarah Gale Nutrition