5 Simple Practices to Improve Your Digestion

Put a Little Time Into Food Prep.
Digestion starts with seeing and smelling food. By washing, cutting and cooking food you engage your brain, which in turn tells the digestive organs to prepare for food. In response to these sensations, your body begins to produce enzymes and acid to prepare for optimal digestion. If you feel like you don’t have time to cook, you can get some benefit taking a moment to really appreciate the smell of your food before you begin eating.

Try Apple Cider Vinegar Before Meals.
Taking a 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water 15 minutes prior to your meal is another way you can prime your body for digestion. This will increase the digestive enzymes from the pancreas and help promote a healthy stomach acid, which will assist you in breaking down proteins and enhance mineral absorption.

Avoid or Minimize Drinking Beverages During Meals.
Fluids during meals can dilute all those digestive juices your body worked so hard to produce. This can make you digestion less efficient and even result in partially digested foods moving through your intestines.

Create a Calm Eating Environment.
You may have heard the term “rest & digest.” It refers to your parasympathetic nervous system which is opposite of the sympathetic nervous system or what’s referred to as “fight or flight.” When you are calm and relaxed the body gives preference to your digestive organs. In stressful situations, blood is shunting away from the intestines to large muscles and other tissues. This is because your body does not know the difference between a bad day at work and the need to out run a lion. Stress is stress and your body will do what it thinks is necessary to survive.

I love nerdy art! This is actually a closer representation of what the digestive system looks like.

Chew and Then Chew Some More
Adequately chewing your food to create a texture more similar to that of a liquid will enhance the mechanical and chemical digestion process. It also increases the surface area of your food. This will enable enzymes to work more efficiently and for you to absorb more nutrients. It is also easier on the stomach because it won’t be doing the extra work your mouth skipped.

Make an appointment for more digestive support or to address specific digestion related problems.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a licensed Functional Medicine Naturopathic Doctor, best selling author, speaker, and mother. Dr. Brighten specializes in women’s health, from fertility to postpartum care, adrenal and thyroid support, autoimmune conditions, and digestive disorders. In her patient centered practice, Dr. Brighten thrives on navigating the space between conventional and alternative medicine, all while working with patients to help them achieve optimum balance, health, and happiness.