To cap off the first month of the new year, I’m going to be bringing you lots of actionable nutrition advice to this space, so keep a close watch for my latest monthly posts!
I decided to begin discussing digestion above all because optimal digestion is the root of incredible health. When the gut is in good working order, the benefits include lots of energy, strong hair and nails, smooth skin, a lean body, a fast metabolism, balanced hormones, and the list goes on!
Firstly... where does digestion begin?
Digestion doesn't begin in the stomach, nope, not even in your mouth. It actually begins with your eyes. The glimpse of a tasty looking dish or the aroma sends signals to your brain saying: "Good stuff is on the way." As a result, your brain - the ultimate message centre - shoots out impulses that:
- Make your mouth salivate.
- Make your stomach rumble (contracting and creating hunger pangs).
- Make intestinal glands start leaking digestive chemicals.
All that from a little look and sniff!
5 simple ways to improve your digestion today:
1.) Chew your food until it becomes a paste. Since your stomach doesn’t have teeth, you’ll need to put your chompers into more use and thoroughly grind your food down to a paste before swallowing for better nutrient absorption. When you chew your food properly, your body releases digestive enzymes in the stomach that help to break down food so that your body can convert it into energy. This also helps in reducing bloating when you chew your food properly and prevents you from overeating!
2.) Keep liquids away from your meals. Limit this to only 1 cup to be sipped with your meal, but normally anything beyond that quantity and you’ll be diluting your powerful stomach acid needed to break down your meal.
3.) Take 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before a meal. Apple cider vinegar is no joke. It contains a high amount of malic and tartaric acids that when consumed speeds up fat and protein breakdown, allowing your stomach to empty effectively. Take 1 tsp (with a splash of water if you can’t stand it) before a meal to help aid in digestion and nutrient assimilation. Especially effective if you tend to feel bloated after meals.
4.) Take probiotics everyday. Probiotics are necessary for optimal digestion because our gut is home to over 500 bacterial species, and probiotics are the healthy, beneficial sources of bacteria which facilitate digestion, provides nutrients, and helps form the immune system. It's important to know that not all probiotics are created equal. If you’d like to learn more about my preferred brand of probiotics, send me an email at email@example.com for more information.
5.) Eat undistracted. Were you ever in a trance watching tv while eating chips only to look down and realize you’ve got one last handful left? When we don’t pay much attention to what is on our plate because our attention is firmly glued to Netflix, our digestive system quickly takes the back seat because our brain and eyes have decided to focus elsewhere. Challenge yourself at being more mindful with the food on your plate (the smell, the texture, putting your fork down between bites) and you’ll realize that you’ll feel more satisfied and experience better overall digestion.
Kickstart your digestion by making this Happy Digestion Smoothie
Recipe and description from www.ohsheglows.com
Ginger: stimulates circulation and digestion and can cut gas and bloating, and alleviate diarrhea.
Pineapple: Contains a compound called bromelain. The protein-digesting enzymes in it help to aid digestion.
Parsley: Rich in vitamins K, C, A, folate, and antioxidants. It's a natural diuretic which can help release water retention. Opt for flat-leaf parsley as it's less bitter than curly parsley. Cilantro would be a nice swap here too!
Lemon: Rich in vitamin C. Aids digestion and helps flush out toxins.
Avocado: Major anti-inflammatory benefits and heart-healthy fats. High in fibre which aids with digestion.
- 1 c granny smith apple chunks
- ½ c frozen pineapple chunks
- 4 kale leaves
- ¼ c fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 c coconut water
- 1/4 avocado
- ½ c ginger tea, cooled down (or use a small knob of fresh ginger with 1/2 cup water)
- 1 c ice
- scoop of unflavoured protein powder (optional - add more water if adding the protein)
ADD all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Divide between two glasses and enjoy.
Looking for 1:1 nutrition coaching? Take charge of your health and book an appointment with our in house nutritionist Maya Eid today! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on packages and services.