You push your chair back from the table, completely satisfied. It was a great meal and you are grateful for the good friends and family you shared it with.
One hour later the uncomfortable feeling of ‘being ‘stuffed’ sets in. Did you know digestion actually begins in the mouth, long before it arrives in the intestines? It is true.
Consider this example: You have limited time for lunch so you multi-task, eating quickly while talking on the phone. In reality, you are taking in quite a bit of air and that air contributes to gas build up. Likewise, eating quickly guarantees there is not enough of that saliva to break the food down properly.
That makes it much harder for your intestinal tract to do its job. How can you help it along? Next time you sit down to the table with a plate of appealing foods, consider these steps to better digestion: 1. Eat more slowly. Focusing on eating slower allows additional saliva to be present.
That extra saliva assists in breaking down the food so that your stomach receives it more easily. How can you help that process along? Chew. Chew every mouthful of food at least 35 times until your food becomes liquid. And put your fork down between bites.
That gives you time to chew properly. 2. Add more fiber to your diet. Fiber breaks food down more slowly so that sugar (glucose) can enter the blood stream at a slower pace. It is not necessary to measure the amount of fiber in your diet; your body will tell you when you are getting enough.
How? You’ll know when you begin to have more regular, and less painful, bowel movements, as well as a reduction on episodes of constipation. Slowly add fiber to your diet with such foods as vegetables, nuts, whole grain breads and cereals, beans and oats. Begin with:
1. Wheat germ or ground flax seeds
2. Fruits and vegetables
3. Dark leafy greens 3
4. Eat balanced meals.
Balanced foods are rich in nutrients and easy to digest.
They promote effortless digestion and create long, gentle rise and falls in blood sugar and insulin. Balanced foods also encourage optimal circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
They are low in fat and cholesterol, and help you maintain your optimum weight. Some of the most balanced foods include:
1. Plant foods rich in complex carbohydrates that produce long-lasting energy without creating elevated blood sugars. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight against cancer and are an immune booster. They are also rich in fiber.
2. Green and leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale and mustard greens.
3. Sweet vegetables such as parsnips, squash, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes and yams create elevations in blood sugar without causing extreme highs.
4. Protein foods (the substance that builds tissues for growth and repair) like red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, grains and soy.
5. Drink more water. Begin your day with 1-2 glasses of water and continue to drink it between, and with, your meals.
Adding more water to your diet helps to avoid dehydration in your intestines. If you are having any discomfort with urination or bowel movements, drinking more water can help.
6. Relax! Make a solid effort to incorporate the following suggestions into your day:
1. Meditate for ten minutes a day.
2. Set aside a regular exercise time. Thirty minutes or more is great!
3. Listen to relaxing music and practice deep breathing. Any of these suggestions will help your body, mind and intestines relax, helping you manage your life with less stress and more ease.