TEN TIPS FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION
1. Eat with no deadline
You know what it’s like: quickly typing that report with a sandwich in your mouth. Even so, it is better to take your time, because then you will feel full faster. In turn, this means that you won’t put on weight as quickly. You will also avoid the after-meal dip. You must be careful: if it doesn’t give you any energy, you are not eating optimally. De-stressing is also good for normal gastric acid production. It is actually rather nice: when you eat calmly, you simply create a period of rest in a jam-packed day.
2. Chew properly, but how many times?
Digestion starts in the mouth. If we swallow food too quickly, we miss out this important step. Our body then has to work harder and sometimes that simply isn’t possible. So how many times should we chew a mouthful of food? That depends on the type of food. Therefore, the advice varies widely– from at least ten to even thirty times. However, if you chew properly, you will know when it is time to swallow. Let your body do the work!
3. Nice couple: fibres and liquid
Dietary fibres are just like sponges: they become saturated with liquid and then clean the intestine for us. They also create volume in the food pulp, which stimulates bowel movements. Vegetables and fruit are rich in fibres, as are nuts, seeds and kernels. Extra liquid– at least 2 litres a day– is desirable, because fibres with no liquid dry out the food pulp. In any case, avoid flour and other white flour products. These products eliminate moisture, which will slow down digestion.
4. Plenty of fruit and vegetables
If you want to be certain that your food will digest quickly and properly, choose bitter vegetables such as endive, kale, chard and rocket. Garlic, onion, leek, carrot, fennel and artichokes also do wonders. Strengthen your gastric acid with citrus fruits. A sizeable grapefruit, for example, which also supplies the necessary water. Incidentally, you should always eat the fruit first and any food that is harder to digest afterwards. This prevents fermentation processes in your stomach.
5. Spice it up!
There are many herbs that aid digestion. For example, cinnamon and cloves, but also mint, curcuma and ginger give just that bit extra. Variation is also very important for good digestion. Tip: why not make a fresh herbal drink or tea. This will not only work on your digestion, but also on a good fluid balance.
6. The importance of good intestinal flora
The intestinal flora keeps us healthy. These bacteria are responsible for the majority of the digestive processes. Eating irregularly, always eating the same, bad food choices and not chewing food enough can disrupt this internal environment. Fermented products, such as sauerkraut provide the good bacteria that is required. Probiotics can often provide a solution.
7. Preferably no dairy products and grains
Cows’ milk protein and lactose are well-known allergens and can (imperceptibly) disrupt bowel function. Furthermore, the combination of milk and fruit is very bad for the digestion. Cereals also contain an allergen: gluten. When you are sensitive to that, this can cause a lot of problems. Other products that often cause problems are alcohol, chocolate, soft drinks, tomatoes and beans.
If you would nevertheless still like to use dairy products, opt for fermented products, such as yoghurt. The bacteria have already digested the food for you, so it causes fewer problems. These bacteria are also beneficial for good flora.
8. Fats and carbohydrates
A healthy weight reduces the susceptibility to digestive problems. And that starts with reducing saturated fats and carbohydrates that we eat through bread, soft drinks, dairy and convenience foods. Chicken, turkey and lean beef are good options. Good unsaturated fats are mainly found in fatty fish.
After eating, you should preferably take a stroll. This calm exercise gives precisely the right signal to your digestion: time to produce energy! Exercise also stimulates bowel function, which is important for digestion and bowel motions. Don’t immediately exercise intensively, because your digestion will then be put on hold.
10. Still feeling acidic?
Warm water and warm tea – organic green tea for example – can offer relief. You can also take a spoonful of cider vinegar after eating. If you prefer to avoid that feeling, you can replace table salt with sea salt which is beneficial to gastric acid. However, if your stomach is too acidic, we recommend that you drink natural apple juice, chamomile or lemon balm tea. Extra digestive enzymes in the form of supplements can also be taken.