A Quest to Digest

For some reason, I am seeing a lot of women with sensitive digestive system. They come in with a list of “things I should not eat” and they are firm believers that they have to stick to this list or something bad would happen to them.

This made me think of what would be my top five tips for fine-tuning the digestive system. Believe it or not, it took me two days to make up my mind and pick my top choices, as the list of my recommendations were over 30 items. These are my top five tips to support your digestion:

Start your day with a glass of warm lemon water & always stay hydrated
Lemon water has always been my recommendation for first thing when you wake up. Because it flushes out toxins, promotes liver to detoxify the body, improves digestion, prevents bloating, alkalinizes the body, encourages bile production and this list goes on and on.

Staying hydrated is another key factor in preventing constipation and bloating. Do not forget that our brain sometimes mistake hunger for thirst and staying hydrated will help you prevent over-eating.

Slow down
Sit down and eat peacefully. Put all the deadlines and appointments aside for 20-30 minute and enjoy your meal. Being in hurry puts your body in stress mode. Stress to our body means be ready to fight or run. This is why stressing out while eating will shift our bodies’ attention from digestion to our muscles as a survival strategy. Next time you want to eat, please turn off your television, computer and radio. Put everything aside and enjoy every bite.

Chew properly
Digestion starts in your mouth. Chewing the food will increase digestive enzymes. This will help your body assimilate more nutrition from the food. Moreover, as an added bonus it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get satisfied with eating. Chewing slowly will give the brain the time to feel satiated. Experts suggest, 20-30 chews per bite. I always say chew until you cannot chew more and there is nothing left to chew.

Clean out the fast food, processed food and inflammatory foods
Before having any food stand back and think if the food is going to turn into fuel or inflammation in your body.

For example sugar is a required fuel for your body. However, refined carbohydrates cause more inflammation than energy. That is why if you want to ditch bloating, weight gain, mood disorder and diabetes you must avoid refined sugar at any cost.

I always have two recommendations for my patients:
1. Do not put gluten, dairy and inflammatory foods in your household grocery-shopping list. However, if you are out in a restaurant or vacation give yourself permission to indulge in anything you desire.
If you cannot go inflammatory-food-free, in your grocery list, I recommend going on a very simple, nutrient rich anti-inflammatory and clean diet 5 days a month.

2. Include fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha tea, pickles, tempeh and kimchi) and cultured food (yogurt) for their probiotic in your list.

As hard as it was to narrow down this list, I am sure that these five steps can make all the difference in your digestive health.
Dr. Z

Author resumes no liability for incorrect information or any action reader decides to take based on the information on this blog post. This blog post is only author’s personal input on the topic and by no means entails any medical advice.