Super Simple Hacks to Support Your Digestion Every day

Assuming there isn't a more serious underlying gut health imbalance we typically overcomplicate digestive health but did you know there are simple Hacks to Support Your Digestion every day?

We often forget that the simple act of chewing (even our smoothies) begins the digestive process, or that brushing our teeth and flossing also supports a health microbiome.

So here are some simple hacks that you can do to support your digestion every day!

Mindful Eating

This is always number one for me. As mentioned at the beginning of this book, digestion begins in the mouth. There are some chemical processes that take place in the mouth but chewing is an important process to overall proper digestion. Here are some ways to practice mindful eating:

  1. Chew food: This also includes smoothies! If you find "chewing" smoothies to be awkward, try adding granola to it
  2. Take deep breaths: When we are stressed our blood flow goes to our arms and legs instead of our digestive system where it should be going.
  3. Appreciate your food: Look at what you are eating and actually think about the food and how it is nourishing your body
  4. Put down your fork: Put your fork down between bites to avoid rushing your meals
  5. Remove distractions: Eat without distractions which means no phone, tv, and away from your desk
  6. Tip: Choose one food item on your plate per meal that you will chew fully until your jaw muscles get use to it and until it becomes habit. Once it does add more foods each meal.

Oral Hygiene:

Our mouth is actually filled with good and bad bacteria and there is actually research being done to look at how oral health impacts other body systems. In terms of digestion, we want to decrease the bad bacteria in our mouths and increase the good bacteria, not only for our oral health BUT also so that we can properly break down food and also not ingest bad bacteria. So obviously brush and floss your teeth but you can also use a tongue scraper and try oil pulling. I also do NOT recommend mouth wash or at least traditional mouth wash as it can actually decrease your good bacteria.

Fermented foods:

Fermentation is the process of using microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids under anaerobic conditions. There are two types of fermentation, alcoholic and lactic acid. Lactic acid reduces growth of bad bacteria and improves digestion. What are the benefits of fermented foods?

  1. help absorb and assimilate nutrients
  2. promote digestion of food-promote healthy bacteria in the digestive system
  3. support immune system health
  4. eliminate carcinogens and reduce toxicity
  5. potential to decrease inflammation

How do you add them to your diet? There are plenty of ways you can incorporate fermented foods into your diet. Top grain bowls with sauerkraut, pair kimchi with Asian-inspired dishes, add miso paste to soups, use tempeh as a bacon alternative, add yogurt to your smoothies, enjoy kombucha on its own, and add apple cider vinegar to your sauces and dressings. Simple as that!

Focus on gut-friendly foods and avoid processed foods:

  1. Collagen: Did you know that collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the body and contains 19 different amino acids?! Some of these include glycine and proline which support other functions in the body like liver and cardiovascular health. Collagen has been studied for its benefits to teeth, nail, hair, skin and joint health as well as supporting gastrointestinal health. Collagen has been recommended to individuals experiencing leaky gut as it has been studied for its links to protecting our gastrointestinal lining. You may have also heard of something called collagen peptides which have been processed differently so they dissolve better in liquids and are easier for people to digest.
  2. Bone broth is consumed for many of the same reasons as collagen. Since bone broth is easy to digest and versatile, it is a great way to support digestive health. Drink it straight or use it in sauces or soups.
  3. Adding lemon to water, especially warm water, can be another way you can support digestive health. The properties in lemon help stimulate the production of digestive juices which helps with the digestion of food.
  4. Papaya similar to pineapple is anti-inflammatory and contains an enzyme called papain which also helps break down proteins.
  5. Certain teas, particularly herbal teas are known to support digestive upset. Peppermint is a great example that can be found in all grocery stores. Peppermint tea and oil has been shown to have positive effects on individuals experiencing bloating gas and abdominal pain. Ginger tea is another common tea known to support digestion and can help with motion sickness.
  6. is anti-inflammatory and contains an enzyme called bromelain that supports digestion and breaks down protein as well as fibre which provides bulk to stools.
  7. flaxseed is a great source of fiber and promotes healthy bowel movements and is anti-inflammatory
  8. similar to flaxseed, chia seeds are high in fiber and can relieve constipation and promote healthy bowel movements.
  9. contains unique medium-chain fatty acids which help kill bad bacteria.

Foods to Avoid/Limit:

  1. dairy is not necessarily the best way to get your daily source of calcium. Many people who have digestive issues are lactose intolerant and experience different symptoms to varying degrees when consuming dairy.
  2. peanuts are susceptible to a mold called aflatoxin which can lead to digestive issues. Individuals with pre-existing conditions should only have them in moderation.
  3. coffee for example can be dehydrating and also stimulate the colon causing diarrhea for some people. Other stimulants and caffeinated beverages can have the same effect on some individuals.
  4. unhealthy gut bacteria feed off of sugar so be sure to eat it in moderation.
  5. these foods lack the fiber and nutrients to support healthy digestion and good bacteria. These foods feed bad bacteria and can cause inflammation in the body.

Other lifestyle hacks:

  1. Use a squatty potty to help you sit more naturally on the toilet
  2. Go to bed on time! Seriously! Sleep is key to digestive health
  3. Manage stress - not easy at all but something we all need to be more mindful of
  4. Move your body! Daily movement will help with regulating bowel movements

 

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