5 Simple Practices to Improve Your Digestion

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Digestion Leave a Comment

Implementing simple practices to improve your digestion can go a long way in overall health. While you may have heard you are what you eat that isn't the full story. You are what you can digest and absorb, making these practices crucial to your health.

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.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is one of the leading experts in women’s medicine and is a pioneer in her exploration of the far-reaching impact of hormonal birth control and the little known side effects that impact health in a large way. In her best selling book, Beyond the Pill, she shares her clinical protocols aimed at supporting women struggling with symptoms of hormone imbalance, including Post-Birth Control Pill Syndrome and birth control related side effects. A trained nutritional biochemist and Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Brighten is the founder and Clinic Director at Rubus Health, an integrative women’s medicine clinic. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, Cosmopolitan, ABC news, and the New York Post. Read more about me here.