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Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., LAc., Dipl.Ac.
1. Take time to eat. Instead of woofing down your meal in 5 minutes, spend 20 - 30 minutes at mealtimes.
2. Chew, Chew, and Chew. This is the beginning of the digestive process in which food is broken down into a smaller and more digestible size. People who don't chew enough tend to have digestive problems.
3. Limit / don't drink during a meal. When you drink liquids during a meal it dampens the digestive fire and dilutes the acid in the stomach, which is needed for digestion.
4. Eat foods that are beneficial to your gut microbiota (good bacteria). These include fiber rich foods like vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Fermented foods with "live cultures" are also very good, although not everyone can eat them.
5. Eliminate cold, chilled and raw food & drinks from your diet. These put out the digestive fire needed to digest food, and also damages the intestinal lining.
6. Follow your meals with a healthy dessert like fresh papaya or pineapple (not canned). These fruits contain natural digestive enzymes which aid in digestion.
7. Include plenty of fiber in your diet.
8. Don't eat at night. The GI tract becomes stagnant at night. If you eat late, the food will stagnate inside the colon and become rotten.
9. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Hydration helps to dissolve and absorb nutrients. If you're under-hydrated this can slow the digestive process and cause constipation.
10. Keep stress levels down. Stress negatively affects the digestive process by inhibiting gastric secretion and gut motility. For this reason, it's a good idea not to eat while stress levels are high or if your're emotionally distraught.
Bonus Tip: AVOID ANTIBIOTICS - They destroy your gut flora, especially after repeated use. If you take antibiotics, you must follow-up with a physician grade probiotic to restore your gut flora.
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