We can spend a lot of time focusing purely on diet and overlook digestion, but in order for our body to benefit from eating good food, we need to make sure our digestion is in good working order. When our digestion is good, it means that the important nutrients from our food can be absorbed and assimilated and the rest eliminated efficiently. No amount of juicing, sprouting seeds and eating organic vegetables is going to help us to be well if we can’t assimilate them.
The state of our mind has a huge impact on that of our digestion, and vice versa. So digestive health and state of mind are fundamental to good health and well-being. When we eat with a feeling of contentment and peace, our food is assimilated better than if we eat while feeling angry or stressed.
Preparing and cooking meals with care is also important. Food delivered with love is more nourishing to our body and mind. It’s important to try to do our best and eat nutritious foods as much as we can, but if we don’t always manage to do so, it’s also fine and not something to stress or feel guilty about. Just doing our best is the main thing. We will find that the healthier the things we do for ourselves, the more we will want to continue on that path.
There are Many Ways to Improve our Digestion
- Don’t graze. Our digestive system, like the rest of us, needs a break, so take care with snacking and if you do need a snack, eat something healthy whenever you can.
- If you find it very difficult to eat proper meals and have a poor appetite, following the other things in this list will help. For now, you may need to continue to eat small amounts of food a little more often, but it’s important that the foods you do eat are easy to digest. At this stage, cooked warm foods are much easier to digest than cold raw foods. Soups and stews, including digestive spices (see below) are easier on the digestion and can help create a healthy microbiome (the healthy gut bacteria that we need to digest our food properly).
- Eat when you are hungry, not just because you think you should eat. Eat when your previous meal has been fully digested and you feel hunger pangs.
- Include digestive spices in your food if you can: cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel and cardamom are all excellent.
- Drink warm water and herbal teas throughout the day. Warm drinks like these with the added benefits of herbs, helps take care of the digestion all day long. If you are new to drinking herbal tea, start by replacing one of your usual coffees or teas each day and you’ll find you soon start to love them! Buy a box of mixed herbal teas to find the ones you prefer.
- Don’t eat on the go or at your desk! Take time to honour meal times and enable your stomach to relax and appreciate the food you are eating. When we are relaxed our digestion, like everything else, works more efficiently.
- Fasting can be an excellent way to give our digestion time to recover, and our body to do some healing, but work with a practitioner who can help you work out a routine that works for you.
- Yoga is great for digestion and there are specific postures that can help to improve it.
- Regular exercise is also important if your health and energy levels permit.
- Practice this little meditation to help your stomach feel good and improve your digestion: sit somewhere comfortable, take your awareness to your stomach, putting your hand on it can feel comforting. Take a few relaxing breaths. Let go of any tension you are holding in that area. The stomach is a place we can hold our worries and stress. Imagine your stomach relaxing fully, and gently let go. Imagine your stomach is smiling. Smile into your relaxed happy stomach and feel the peace.
The PHA has practitioners who can provide tailored information for those interested in digestion. Click here.