7 Tips to Improve Digestion Naturally
Weak digestion is one of the first signs of the body being out of balance. Some symptoms of poor gut health are heartburn, reflux, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and intolerances to certain foods such as gluten or dairy. What causes the body to become weak and dysfunctional? High/prolonged stress, poorly managed stress, subluxations and nutritional deficiencies are what weakens the body.
When the body is under stress, it can require up to four times the amount of nutrition to simply combat that stress. When organs, glands and tissue become nutritionally deficient, it cause muscle contraction in the spine and creates subluxations. Subluxations interfere with brain body communication and causes an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and this is what creates weak digestion and digestion symptoms.
So how can you strengthen your digestion naturally? Here are the best tips from a chiropractor in Naperville, IL.
1. EAT CLEAN
The Standard American Diet is S.A.D. In the 21st century and information age, we have gotten so far away from the way our ancestors used to eat. Today very few people grow a vegetable garden at home. We have to rely on store-bought food. And how many of us buy all organic food? Not many. Conventionally grown produce is genetically modified and sprayed heavily with chemicals. Eating these foods consistently destroys our gut health and microbiome. If you want stronger digestion and better gut health, get back to eating a cleaner diet, rich in whole foods. A clean diet means, lots of organic fruits and vegetables, organic meats – grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, turkey and eggs, wild-caught fish (farmed-raised fish are GMO and toxic) and organic seeds and nuts. Eating a clean diet will provide your body with the nutrients it requires for the body to express health. For more information on food from a professional Naperville chiropractor, watch my Food: Friend or Foe lecture.
2. AVOID TOXIC FOODS
What you eat impacts your gut and overall health. 1 of 2 things will happen in the body with the food you eat. First, the food will nourish and strengthen your body, fight disease and build health OR second, it will cause inflammation, weaken the body and build disease. Disease-building foods to avoid are highly processed food (anything that comes in a box, bag or can), artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, etc.), artificial colors, fried foods, baked goods and vegetable seed oils (canola, corn, rice bran, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, soybean, palm, peanut, olive). Healthy alternative oils to use are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil.
3. CHEW YOUR FOOD
This tip on strengthening your digestion seems really simple but can be the hardest for some people to do. Most people do not chew their food. They take a bite of food, chew it 4-5 times and swallow their food whole. Then they wonder why they have gut problems, digestion symptoms or health challenges. Our stomach doesn’t have teeth. We have to mechanically break our food down in our mouth by chewing our food thoroughly. Chew each bite 40-50 times, until it becomes a liquid soup before you swallow it. Poorly digested food from not chewing it leads to leaky gut, dysbiosis, bowel toxicity and symptoms.
4. SCHEDULE TIME TO EAT
We live in a busy world and time is our most precious commodity. We do not have the time to eat and a lot of the time we eat on the run. It takes time to shop for food, prep/cook our meals, sit/eat our meals and then clean up. If health is important to you, you will make the time to prep and cook most of your meals at home. It will save you a lot of money and your health will be a lot better for it.
5. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Some of the earliest symptoms of high stress or poorly managed stress are digestion symptoms. If digestion symptoms go on enough can lead to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s, colitis, diverticulitis. People don’t understand that stress comes in 3 forms – Mechanical, Emotional, Nutritional. To understand more about these 3 forms, read my blog on stress. Poorly managed stress overwhelms our nervous system and can lock our body into sympathetic dominance or the fight/flight/fright mode. When you are sympathetically dominant, you will feel tightness or pain at the base of your skull, headaches, sinus or allergy issues, hard time falling asleep at night and digestion symptoms. Things that you can do to manage your stress better are to journal daily, talk your stress out with spouse, friend, family member, etc., learn to meditate, exercise regularly, chiropractic care and/or learn to nurture your inner child.
We forget to give ourselves permission to play as adults. What charges your battery and brings you joy? It is reading a book, watching a movie, playing with your kids, walking the dog, playing an instrument, getting together with friends, putting a puzzle together, exercising, engaging in a hobby, etc. Whatever that thing is for you, do you do it to unwind and for stress management? If not, I would recommend you start.
6. GOOD EATING HABITS
Most of my patients when they first come to see me have poor eating habits. This is because most people aren’t taught good eating habits. First, being organized helps a lot. One of the hardest questions to answer or to decide is, what’s for dinner? Develop a dinner plan for the week, go shopping on the weekend to get all the ingredients and do any food prep to make cooking that week easier. This takes thought and energy to do, but makes cooking significantly easier.
Second, make the time to eat your dinner. Sit in a relaxed manner, take a few deep breaths to calm the body down and enjoy your meal. Let this be the time to connect with your family and share what is going on in your lives. Make sure you chew your food thoroughly and don’t over eat, portion control.
Lastly, 60 minutes after a meal, you should feel light, energized and clear-headed. If you feel heavy, bloated, lethargic, brain fog and ready to take a nap, these are signs of weak digestion. Poor health habits lead to poor digestion. Poorly managed stress, poor diet, not chewing your food thoroughly, eating in a hurry and not taking care of yourself are a few reasons why.
To deepen your understanding of digestion, watch my Digestion Disorders lecture or Digestion lecture.
7. GET CHIROPRACTIC CARE FROM A CHIROPRACTOR IN NAPERVILLE, IL
I have a lot of patients that come to me that eat clean and exercise regularly, but they still have digestion difficulties or health problems with no neck or back pain. This is because their body is existing in a weakened state. The brain and nervous system are out of balance which are causing subluxations in their spine and weakening their digestion system. Regular chiropractic care removes subluxations, restores proper communication of the brain to all organs, tissues and cells, balances the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic), strengthens the body by allowing it to express health. Health and well-being are the body’s natural state. People do a good job of abusing their body mechanically, emotionally and nutritionally that their body breaks down and gives them health challenges. Digestion symptoms are among the first to surface when the body is weak. My job as a chiropractor is to identify the primary source of stress, restore balance in the body, nourish the organs that need to be fed and support normal function in the body. The body does the rest and all the healing.
Dr. Keith Giaquinto, Internal Health Specialist, practices in Naperville, Illinois. He provides chiropractic care and takes a holistic approach when treating his patients. He educates his patients on what they can do to take full ownership of their health. Call 630-246-2627 to schedule a complimentary screening with a chiropractor in Naperville, IL.
Health isn’t hard, it just needs to be a priority. Need help ask.