Have you ever felt bloated after a meal, even if it was “healthy”? Bloating feels uncomfortable and sometimes, even painful. What brings it on?
#1: EATING ON THE GO
Good digestion begins in the brain. Not in the mouth or the stomach but with the thought of eating food. The sight and smell of food triggers the salivary glands to produce an amylase to help break down food, especially carbohydrates.When you eat quickly, in the car, on the go, you don’t allow your nervous system to settle into rest and digest mode.
Solution? Take a moment to eat. Sit down, take a deep breath, be grateful for your meal. Chew each bite. Don’t eat in the car. Don’t eat at your desk. Find a calm spot (park, outside cafe) to eat. No TV, no emails, no Facebook.
It doesn’t have to take one hour to eat your meal, but at least, take the time to stop the rat race for several minutes. This will allow your digestive system to set the wheels for good digestion.
#2. EATING TOO FAST
I know I mentioned it earlier, but CHEW YOUR FOOD. The act of mastication allows food to reach your stomach already broken down and it makes its job much easier.
If you don’t chew your food properly (count at least 20 chews per mouthful), your salivary amylase is not properly mixed in and it can cause problems later in the digestion process. Carbs particularly benefit from salivary amylase; if not chewed properly, carbs can ferment in the stomach and cause discomfort.
#3. STOMACH ACID IS TOO LOW
Low stomach acid is a common ailment in the US and it’s exacerbated by clever TV ads convincing you you have too much stomach acid and that’s why you have reflux. So people pop in Tums and Prilosec and Nexium.
In reality, most people suffer from low stomach acid. Age, a diet rich in processed foods, smoking and alcohol contribute long term to low stomach acid.
When the food you just chewed goes down, the stomach continues the breakdown of food by churning and releasing a number of chemicals. In its lining, the stomach has tiny gastric glands that release Pepsinogen and Hydrochloric Acid, which help in the breakdown of protein.
If your stomach acid is low, proteins do not get digested properly. And if the Ph of your stomach is not acidic enough, it doesn’t release the food right way in the small intestine. Food stays in the stomach longer than it should and proteins rot, carbs ferment and fats rancidify.
Then bloating happens.
#4. YOU EAT TOO OFTEN
Several health experts out there still promote to eat 6 meals a day. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, evening snack, that’s a lot of eating, and that’s a lot of work for your digestive system.
When food keeps coming in, your stomach can struggle to process it all, especially if your stomach acid is low.
To be satiated throughout the day, to be clear headed and energetic, add good fats to your diet and lower your carbs. For example breakfast can be eggs, butter, and bacon. Fats are satiating and you’ll find skipping snacks quite easy.
#5. YOU DON’T EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF FOODS
I’ve read somewhere that Americans eat about 10 different foods weekly. Chicken, beef, pork, pasta, rice, broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, cheese.
Does that sum up your week?
If you limit your food variety, you limit your vitamin and mineral variety. Add different vegetables each week, go outside your own spectrum, try probiotic foods while you’re at it.
Pro…what? Probiotic foods are great for the gut and digestion in general. Like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented pickles. These foods, and also leafy green vegetables, will feed your gut bacteria that live in the large intestine.
The large intestine, and part of the colon, is well known for where poop happens. But did you know that’s also where lost nutrients are recycled into vitamins? With the help of our gut bacteria, that’s where vitamins K, B1, B2, and B12 are produced.
So get wild and dare to try new foods. Who knows, you might even like it.
ARE SUPPLEMENTS HELPFUL?
Short answer? Yes. Long answer? As we grow older and abuse our bodies along the way, supplementing can give us a healthful boost in the right direction.
In the course of my work as a NTP (nutritional therapy practitioner), I find most people need help with digestion. Here are 5 supplements most helpful with digestion:
1. Betaine Plus HP (Biotics Research)
2. Beta TCP (Biotics Research)
3. Bromelain Plus CLA (Biotics Research)
4. Atrantil (Atrantil)
5. Hydro-Zyme (Biotics Research)
4 OPEN SPOTS FOR DIGESTION EVALUATION
If you’re interested in seeing me for a digestion evaluation, I have 4 open spots available. Upon answering two questionnaires and bringing in a 3-Day Food Journal, clients will receive a 30-minute consultation, a 15-minute functional evaluation and a short Nutritional Report, all on digestion, for a discounted price of $40.00.
Only 4 spots are available! Contact me soon if you’re interested.
Yours in Health,