You are only as healthy as your body’s ability to digest and absorb the food you eat. Except for typical cold symptoms, digestive issues are the most common reason people seek medical advice. Every year, Americans spend 87 billion dollars on direct medical cost due to digestive issues. (Lipski xv) These numbers demonstrate what an extreme issue our lack of digestive wellness is costing not only our pocket books but also our health and well being.
With that said, the following are a few simple steps we all can take to improve one of the most important keys to having health this year…..our digestion:
- Eat in a relaxed environment – Turn off the TV and sit down! Allow your body to focus on eating. Eating in a relaxed environment activates the parasympathetic nervous system and facilitates digestion.
- Chew your food!! – Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth and chewing your food completely before swallowing puts less stress on your digestive system. Hint: Put your fork down between bites and pick it back up after you have completely chewed and swallowed the previous one.
- Drink less fluid with your meals – drinking water throughout the day is a must, but with meals consider limiting intake because it dilutes important digestive juices and stomach acid that facilitates digestion.
- Choose whole organic foods – Whole foods are in the state nature intended. Whole foods are not processed and are nutrient dense. Also, avoid toxins and eat organically. This includes not only produce but also meat and dairy too.
- Eat a wide variety of nutrient dense whole foods – It is estimated that the average American consumes 75% of their foods from the same 10 foods. (Hass 29) It is important to mix it up because when we over eat one food, we start to limit our body’s ability to digest it.
- Eliminate refined fake foods – Heavily processed foods and fake foods like artificial sweeteners and trans-fat are void of nutrients and contain chemicals that the body can not properly metabolize.
- Identify problem areas – if you are having current digestive issues, such as low stomach acid or constipation do some research, and take appropriate steps to solve the problem.
Incorporating these simple tips can help you achieve digestive wellness and optimal health!
The False Fat Diet: The Revolutionary 21-Day Program for Losing the Weight You Think Is Fat Hass, Elson. The False Fat Diet. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2000.
Digestive Wellness Lipski, Elizabeth. Digestive Wellness. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.