The main function of the digestive system is to break down food into its component parts so that the nutrients can be absorbed into the blood stream and used by the body for its various jobs – such as energy production and tissue repair. Our digestive system is essential for eliminating waste products from the body and is a vital part of our immune system.
Its thought that as many as 40% of the UK population suffer from at least one symptom of a digestive problem at any one time. Digestive complaints include wind, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, acid reflux, constipation and diarrhoea and are associated with many health conditions including IBS, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns disease.
Here are 5 simple tips that you can try today that should help improve your digestion today:
- Get involved in preparing and cooking your next meal. The anticipation of the meal helps increase saliva, gastric juices, and enzymes – all of which are required to digest and absorb your food.
- Mix the juice of half a lemon with a small amount of warm water and drink it around 10 minutes before you eat. The citric acid in the lemon juice helps to stimulate the release of stomach acid. Stomach acid plays a vital role in the immune system by killing the bugs that are ingested with the food that we eat; it is essential for the breakdown of protein and increaseses the absorption of minerals; it also signals to the pancreas to produce digestive juices and enzymes to further breakdown food.
- Chew your food thoroughly – until it feels like a liquid in the mouth (really!). The more you chew your food the easier it is for your body to absorb the nutrients from it. Chewing can also be really helpful if you suffer from a grumbly tummy. Reducing the particle size of your food in the mouth means that it is less likely to arrive in the gut undigested. Undigested food particles can be fermented in the gut producing gases – so thorough chewing reduces bloating and wind.
- Eat a small starter of salad or fruit (papaya or pineapple are especially good). Raw fruit and veg are rich in enzymes that can help our own digestive enzymes breakdown our food. Signs that our digestive enzymes need some support include gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
- Drink plenty of water – around 8 glasses a day. Water supports the breakdown of foods and helps flush toxins that interfere with digestion. A word of caution though – limit the amount you drink with your meals as this will dilute your gastric juices.
If you would like to learn more about how nutrition could help support your health or you would like to book an appointment for a nutrition consultation, why not get in touch today. Call Hannah on 07865 049237 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org