Your gut is your body’s furnace, and the food you eat is the coal that keeps it burning. Unfortunately, our modern diet can dampen those flames, and make your gut and your body run at sub-optimal levels. For this reason, knowing how to improve digestion is crucial.
Most people don’t understand just how important this process is, and therefore improving digestion is not a priority for them.(1)
Your immune system is rooted in your gut, and without healthy digestion, you ultimately make yourself susceptible to all kinds of viruses and bad bacteria that can really wreck your health.
With this in mind, here’s how to improve digestion through eight simple, natural remedies.
How to Improve Digestion – Step by Step
1. Chew Liquids, Drink Solids
This might throw you for a loop, but there’s strong logic behind this one.
You may think that digestion starts in your gut, but it actually begins the minute you put food or drink into your mouth. Once you do, enzymes in your saliva get to work, initiating the digestion process.
This is why it’s important to chew your liquids, as funny as this may sound.
Think about it: when you take a sip of a delicious smoothie or vegetable juice, chances are you swallow it quickly because it’s so good.
Here’s the thing: if you do that, you’re not giving that healthy tonic enough time to make contact with the digestive enzymes in your saliva. It means you’re not getting the full benefit of what you’re drinking.
Instead of gulping it down—no matter how much you’re tempted to—swish that healthy liquid around in your mouth for a bit, or even try “chewing” it. You’ll be surprised how far this simple step goes towards improving digestion.
Solids should be chewed as well, but you want to make sure you’re chewing them to the point that you’re practically drinking them down when you’re done!
This allows more of the food to make contact with those digestive enzymes, and breaks down the food into a more easily digestible form.
2. Avoid Drinking Water with Your Meals
Water is an essential part of nutrition, as it’s a part of every metabolic activity in our body. Chances are you aren’t getting enough, so you should be drinking more.
Just make sure you’re not drinking it while you’re eating.
If you’re used to drinking water every time you eat and you’re looking to improve your digestion naturally, avoiding water with your meals could be a big step for you.
This is because water greatly dilutes the digestive secretions present in the stomach leading to partial and inadequate digestion.
What’s more, cold water is even worse as it ends up “shocking” your gastric secretions that help break down your meals.
By all means, drink water all day long, but please avoid it while you’re eating.
3. Practice Mindfulness While Eating
I’m not talking any mumbo jumbo here; this is very practical advice.
This may be the last thing you think about as you ponder how to improve digestion, but consider this: as a mindful eater, you make it a point to be very aware of what exactly you’re eating, and how much of it you eat.
Essentially, by practicing mindfulness with each meal, you’re giving yourself an insurance policy against eating unhealthy foods, or eating too much of anything at all. Eating doesn’t become a background process; it receives your full attention.
Savoring your meals allows you to eat just enough and no more. This promotes fantastic digestive health.
4. Do Deep Breathing Exercises
This is in line with mindfulness. Not only does it allow you to relax and enjoy your meal, it also readies your body for digestion.
A deep breath causes the diaphragm to descend further into the abdomen. Once it descends like this, its dome essentially massages the stomach, thereby coaxing it to secrete more digestive juices.
This is definitely one of the more obscure tips to improve digestion, but trust me, it’s very effective.(3)
5. Pay Attention to Food Combinations
The medical community has scientifically looked at how to improve digestion in many different ways, and in this study of the human body, we have learned that different types of food take a different amount of time to be digested.(2)
As a result, the stomach pushes out easily digestible food faster as opposed to hardier foods that take more time to be properly digested.
With this in mind, food combining is something to be mindful of; you don’t want to mix together foods that drastically differ in digestion times, as this can “gum up” your system.
For example, fruits and raw items take much less time to be digested than proteins that require a much more elaborate digestive process for the nutrients they contain to be fully extracted, absorbed and adequately assimilated by the body.