Did you know there are simple steps you can take to help your body digest food more efficiently? By incorporating some of these health tips in your daily routine, you can expect to feel more energetic and less bloated. Even if you don’t maintain these habits in your everyday life, you should seriously consider following them anytime you are feeling under the weather. Your body is better able to heal itself when it does not have to work so hard to digest food.
Let food be thy medicine.
1. Drink a large glass (or two) of lemon water first thing when you wake up.
While you sleep your body slowly falls into a state of dehydration. The first thing you should do when you wake up is hydrate with 16 ounces of warm lemon water. This combination will hydrate your body, stimulate your metabolism and digestion, alkalize your body, and flush out toxins. Drinking sufficient water throughout the day will also help your skin to look clear and youthful. Lemon is a nutrient powerhouse, don’t underestimate it’s ability to improve your health.
2. Drink water in between meals and limit it while you are eating.
Drinking plenty of water during the day is crucial to your health. There are, however, rules to follow in order for your body to reap the most benefit from quenching your thirst. You should avoid drinking water 30 minutes before eating and a full hour after a meal. Are you wondering why? Your body releases hydrochloric acid in order to break down food in the stomach. Each time you consume more liquid, the acid is diluted and your body needs to release more. This puts a lot of strain on the body and renders the digestive process inefficient.
Take this one seriously. Fruit is largely composed of water, making it incredibly easy to digest. In fact, most fruit is digested in 20-30 minutes. If you eat fruit with anything other than non-starchy vegetables, which are also digested quickly, they will get hung up in your digestive tract and create toxic gas. Have you ever noticed gas build up when you eat fresh fruit after a heavier food? Enjoy your daily serving of fruit as your first meal to avoid causing your body more harm than good.
4. Chew your food thoroughly.
With the pace that life is thrown at us, it is easy to scarf a meal down without chewing thoroughly so we can get back to whatever we need to do. The mouth plays an important role in digestion, beginning with masticating food and the release of enzymes. Failure to properly begin the digestive process in your mouth puts stress on the digestive system and often results in starches and carbohydrates not being fully digested. If you are seeing particles of food in your poop, slow down and chew your food.
5. Eat from light to heavy.
Did you know that experts estimate 50-80% of our total energy is used just to digest food? You can free up some of that energy simply by eating in a pattern that optimizes digestion. On top of the above tips, in general you should eat throughout the day with your lighter and easier to digest meals first.
If you eat meat, it is best to consume a meal with meat at the end of the day, rather than the morning or even lunch.
Every new day can be seen as an opportunity to nourish your body in a way that requires the least amount of effort (from your digestive system). First thing in the morning you could have fruit or a green smoothie without protein. If you need a snack, an avocado with some coconut aminos or lime juice would stay in line with keeping your digestion moving smoothly. A plant based lunch should be next. Here you can include some gluten free millet bread, quinoa, or some other option that is alkalizing. Finally, dinnertime! Have your animal protein now. It will take the longest to digest so eating at the end of the day prevents quicker digesting foods from getting hung up in this long, energy-intensive process.
If you even strive to follow this guideline a couple of days a week, you should notice a difference in your energy and digestion on those days. The less energy your body needs to expend on extracting calories and nutrients from food, the more energy your body can spend on repairing and maintaining healthy cells.
Snyder, Kimberly. The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy, and the Body You’ve Always Wanted. Don Mills, Ontario, Canada: Harlequin, 2011. Print.