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Handy Tips

7 Mealtime Habits That Can Improve Your Digestion

When your digestive system is working properly, you can enjoy feeling content after you have eaten. You have a full feeling, however, you may still develop and retain a slim, trim body.

What happens if you have poor digestion? 

Heartburn, bloating, gas, indigestion, headaches, food cravings, depression, irritability and an inability to recognize true hunger are all characteristics of a poor digestive system.

Practice the following 7 healthy mealtime habits and your digestive system, as well as your appearance and overall health, will benefit:

1 – Mindful Eating

What’s the hurry? Why are you eating so fast? Slow down and chew your food properly. Proper digestion means giving your gastrointestinal system the time it needs to do its job properly.

A good rule of thumb is to chew all solid foods at least 30 or 40 times. This is not necessary in all cases, but practicing this habit will ensure you chew all of your foods properly, and give your stomach the time it needs to signal whether you are full or need to keep eating.

2 – Eat More of These

Eating the right types of food is a simple mealtime habit that can dramatically reduce your risk of developing digestive track issues. High fiber foods are wonderful for the digestion: fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are all healthy foods that deliver plenty of nutrition and most importantly prebiotics.

Chia seeds, coconut oil, apples, papaya, fennel, beets, dark green vegetables, zucchini, ginger, peppermint, miso, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and yogurt are also especially effective at promoting digestive system health.

3 – Eat Fewer of These

Baked goods like doughnuts, pastries and pies are tough on your digestive system. So are processed foods, fast foods, and foods with high levels of sugar and salt.

Food additives, including glucose, salt and other chemicals, have been suggested to contribute to increased gut inflammation, leading to a condition called leaky gut.

Highly processed foods, like store-bought french fries, pizzas and other restaurant food, has lost much if not all of its nutritional value. These empty calories and carbohydrates are absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, before your digestive track has a chance to process them properly.

What’s more, processed foods like low-calorie drinks and ice creams often contain artificial sweeteners, which may cause digestive issues too. Also, avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.

4 – Stop Drinking During Your Meal

You can go ahead and read that line again. Yes, you have probably been told that drinking aids in the digestive process. It actually does and doesn’t, with the whole trick being when you drink liquids in accordance with eating. When you drink cold beverages with your meals, you are diverting energy that should be used for digestion. This can lead to a poor digestive process. 

Water, tea and other beverages are processed extremely quickly. This means that if you drink liquid after chewing and swallowing solid food, a logjam problem can happen in your gut. When you drink liquids you also naturally dilute the stomach acid and digestive enzymes which break down your food. Drink water or other beverages 20 minutes before you eat, and wait for at least an hour after your meal before drinking again.

5- Eat Early

Eating late at night can lead to indigestion and heartburn. Try waiting three to four hours after eating before going to bed, to give the food time to move from your stomach to your small intestine.

6- Manage Your Stress

Stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system. If you are stressed you are at higher risk of developing stomach ulcers, diarrhea, constipation and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Stress hormones directly affect your digestion. When your body is in fight-or-flight mode, it thinks you don’t have time to rest and digest. During periods of stress, blood and energy are diverted away from your digestive system. Manage your stress to help your digestion. 

7- Exercise

Exercise and gravity help food travel through your digestive system. Therefore, regular exercise and perhaps taking a walk after a meal will assist your body in moving things along.

I have been a professional nanny working with children of all ages for over 15 years. My work has taken me all over the globe and I have had many amazing adventures with the families that I have worked with, all of which has taught me a great deal about how to make parenting less stressful.

I helped create Mothers Lifestyle in order to share parenting tips and secrets that I learned along the way, as well as to provide life-saving tools and advice from the world’s leading experts that I rely on every day in my professional life.

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