By Michèle Wolff B.H.Sc Naturopathy, Dip. Colonics and Author of ‘Digestive Solutions’
Digestive problems are becoming all too common, and particularly noticeable after finishing a meal. The feeling of bloating and indigestion creates unnecessary discomfort that can be easily avoided through the ways we cook and eat our foods. Everything links to the gut; if we don’t look after our gut then our gut won’t look after us.
Below are tips for good digestion and to solve your tummy problems naturally:
Eat foods that are easy to digest
Eating foods that are easy to digest and combining them well puts less stress on your digestive system. Your stomach doesn’t want to be overburdened with food as it takes a huge amount of energy to digest it.
- Aim to drink in-between meals
- Water, soups and vegetables are easy to digest especially if you are sick
- Vegetables take 30-45 minutes to digest; incorporate green leafy vegetables with every meal and add some bitter leaves like rocket as they help your digestion
- Beans, grains and other starches take 2-3 hours to digest. If you soak them the night before, the ingredients will digest better and avoid gas in your belly
- Meat, fish and poultry take 3 or more hours to digest. Incorporate lemon, apple cider vinegar when marinating meat to help digestion.
Add herbs to your cooking to improve digestion
These herbs are easy to add to your cooking and will assist with the digestive process: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, dill, oregano and thyme.
Eat at regular meal times
It is important to eat regular healthy meals and eat at the same times of day. Eating similar food groups at similar times each day has a regulating effect on your digestive system. Regular healthy meals help regular bowel movements.
Be conscious of what you eat
Eating too much is the number one cause of indigestion. Did you know that your brain signals the feeling of fullness 10 minutes after you are actually full? If you stop before you are full, you will most likely feel full 10 minutes later. To combat this you should put your utensils down between mouthfuls to eat more slowly, or try chopsticks.
Drink warm or hot liquids
Ice cold drinks can slow down the digestive process – the digestive muscles contract and water is not absorbed as well. Warm or room temperature water will encourage proper digestion. Drinking too much around meal time will dilute your digestive juices so they are best drunk before meals.
Don’t eat late at night
Avoid eating after 7pm as this is when your digestion is weaker. It becomes weaker still every hour after so there is considerable difference if you eat at 10pm compared to 7pm. At night your body needs time to rest and revive. When you eat late at night you don’t produce enough enzymes and other digestive juices to digest your food well. The food sits in your stomach and this can disturb your sleep, make you tired and bloated in the morning. It can also make you foggy in the head and grumpy.
Those who feel full and bloated shortly after eating may have issues with not digesting food properly. If you follow the above tips, bloating and indigestion will become minimal and you will have less discomfort after eating meals.
Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions www.detoxspecialist.com.au. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au RRP $39.95