19 Ways To Improve Digestion Naturally
By Marilee Nelson |
Digestive issues like bloating, acid reflux, upset stomach and IBS are common these days... but they don't have to be!
Especially if you are having severe pain or your digestion is prohibiting you from living a full life, there are ways you can heal your gut. First, it's best to determine what the root of your digestive issues are. Once you've done that, it's time to take action!
Here are natural ways to help improve digestion issues:
- Reduce inflammation by grounding - One of the fastest, no-cost ways to reduce inflammation and congestion in the digestive tract is to get outside in the morning, kick-off your shoes, put down your phone, take off your glasses, and go barefoot for a walk on dew-covered grass or the beach! No grass or beach? Become a tree hugger! Simply hugging a tree will also have amazing grounding effects.
- Get some sunshine - Exposure to sunlight boosts good gut bacteria and vitamin D levels.
- Do targeted exercises - Walking is "movement medicine" for the large intestine. Take a relaxed walk after meals to reduce blood glucose levels and aid digestion.
- Turn on your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) with this simple left nostril breathing exercise before eating.
- Eat intentionally - Avoid eating while distracted or stressed. Sit, relax and really enjoy your food and company.
- Chew! Digestion begins in the mouth - Digestion requires a great deal of energy, especially if forced to digest improperly chewed food. Chew your food thoroughly (liquify it!) to maximize food contact with salivary digestive enzymes and optimize digestion in the stomach.
- Don’t overeat - smaller well chewed meals put less stress on digestion.
Eat organic - Pesticides in food disrupt the gut and digestive system. If you eat organic you automatically avoid GMO foods.
- Toss the Toxins in your pantry and refrigerator. Eat whole, unprocessed foods - This is the easiest (and tastiest) way to ensure you're getting plenty of high-quality nutrients in your diet! Focus specifically on "eating the rainbow". Colored fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that are important for healthy digestion.
- Increase soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber especially is used in medicinal cooking to help treat digestive issues. For example, beans are used to help resolve diarrhea, constipation, and bloating (when carefully added to diet), as well as hormonal, heart, and toxicity issues.
- Eat resistant starches to improve the microbiome, lower blood sugar, aid weight loss, and have therapeutic effects on the colon.
- Chew food until it is liquid and have warm soup with meal to aid digestion. If you are a gulper of your food, sip purified warm water during your meal to help aid digestion.
- Eat healthy fats - The appropriate amount of fat varies from person to person, so experiment and see how you feel.
- Improve digestive enzyme production and utilization naturally by eating more raw foods (which naturally contain enzymes), eating cultured foods with meals, and thoroughly chewing your food.
- Address what your gut is absorbing - If your gut health is suboptimal, you won't be absorbing nutrients properly. All of the tips in this article will help, but if you need more assistance we recommend finding an integrative health practitioner who specializes in gut health.
- Take steps to increase stomach acid production (HCL). Learn more in our article 11 Ways To Rebuild And Support HCL Production.
- Experiment with grains - Some people do not digest grains well, but the reasons differ. Grains start their digestion in the mouth. Chewing until each bite is liquid ensures the least stress on the digestive system. For some, eliminating gluten changes everything. For others, soaking grains in water to remove phytic acid does the trick. For others still, eliminating grains in favor of starchy vegetables is the best course of action or food combining helps. Try chewing well first, and if you're still having issues try out different approaches for a couple weeks to see if grains can work for you!
- Consider identifying and addressing underlying infections - Infections such as Candida, SIBO, H. Pylori could be the issue if digestive problems persist. This usually requires the help of an integrative or functional medicine practitioner that specializes in digestion as they can help pinpoint the type of infection, which saves a lot of time and guesswork.
- Toss the Toxins in your home. Reducing exposure to products with harmful chemicals takes a load off the digestive system and can be a key point in optimizing digestion.
Cheers to a healthy gut!
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.