Due to popular belief, you are not what you eat... you are what your digest. If your body is not digesting food correctly, you will be more likely to experience symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, cramping and flatulence... sound like you? These are the most common symptoms that point to poor digestion and it is more common than you think. The worldwide prevalence of IBS, a disease of the digestive system, is 10-15% of the population. There are many ways to treat digestive upsets and you may require a more intense gut-healing program or food sensitivity testing, however, below are 7 tips that may help ease some of your symptoms and provide you with some relief in the meantime.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar first thing in the morning can lower the pH levels of the stomach and decrease bloating and reflux. Simply add 1 tsp into a glass of warm water.
2. Have 2-3 days a week where you eat gentle, pre-digested foods such as smoothies, soups and slow-cooked meals. These foods are more gentle on your gut as the digestion process has already began by the breaking up of the foods. Slow cooked foods such as bone broth are also packed full of gut-healing nutrients such as collagen and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.
3. Eat slowly. Chew your food at least 10 times before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth.
4. Avoid processed foods as they are usually full of additives, which can significantly contribute to poor digestive symptoms. i.e: diarrhoea, cramping, nausea and other symptoms including skin rashes and asthmatic reactions.
5. Slow down. Stress shuts digestion down. Take at least 20 minutes out of your day to switch off, relax and breathe.
6. Don't drink with your meals. Water dilutes the gastric juices in your stomach, which are what breaks down the food.
7. Soak your nuts, seeds, legumes and grains before cooking. They contain a natural substance called phytic acid, which impairs the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium. Soaking them overnight in filtered water and a tbsp of an acid, such as lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or Greek yoghurt will improve the digestibility of these ingredients.