Published On: Mon, Sep 1st, 2014

5 Ways to improve digestion for better skin, sleep & hormonal health

Digestion-TipsWhether its too much stress, too much food, or eating on the go, we’ve all experienced digestion problems at some point. An OTC remedy or a quick-and-easy laxative may tempt you with their shiny packaging and non-stop commercials, but those are likely problematic, especially in the long run with their habit-forming qualities and symptom-masking abilities.

Therefore, it is always better to start with a holistic approach, one that employs real food, and good lifestyle choices before looking to natural supplements and herbal remedies. So, if you’ve ever struggled with digestion, read on to discover my top suggestions for naturally better digestion.

1. Drink Warm Water with Lemon

First thing in the morning, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a cup of warm water. This activates your liver and gallbladder, encourages peristalsis, and helps to get your bowels moving. Having a bowel movement first thing in the morning is one of the most satisfying things you can do for your digestion. Plus, drinking water with lemon is very alkalizing, helping to balance your pH.

2. Manage Your Stress

Stress causes the body to switch into the sympathetic nervous system “fight or flight” and out of the parasympathetic nervous system “rest and digest.” When this happens, the body doesn’t have as much ability to digest, or process out wastes and retain nutrients; it also reduces output of digestive enzymes and stomach acid. Make sure you manage your stress around mealtimes to avoid feeling heavy and bloated.

3. Practice Mindfulness During Meals

Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that over thinking, strain, and anger are some of the main causes of indigestion. While we know that watching TV or playing on your phone during meals can increase caloric intake and reduce digestive power, even anxious conversations or thinking too much while eating can cause similar issues. Eating should be a chance to practice mindful awareness three times daily, focusing on chewing, how the food tastes, and how it feels as it goes down. Doing so activates more digestive enzymes in your saliva, as well as in the stomach, helping the food breakdown easier.

4. Supplement Wisely

Sometimes even with the best efforts of lifestyle and dietary changes, it is necessary to augment your body’s natural digestive power. Choose a good quality probiotic, or even pro-yeast such as Saccharomyces boulardii to help rebuild your healthy gut bacteria. For those with low stomach acid or slow digestion, characterized by burping up food flavor, feeling of heartburn, and sensation of fullness in the upper abdomen, consider supplementing with HCL, digestive enzymes, and bitters.

5. Let Herbal Infusions Help

Perhaps because of a special occasion indulgence, your digestive system is feeling sluggish and overwhelmed. In that case, consider an herbal tisane such as ginger to strengthen digestive power, fennel to relieve bloating, or spearmint to increase bile production. A puerh-based wellness tea developed for digestion such as Belight Tea can help soothe digestion and ease bloating, as well.

Next time you’re looking for a digestive remedy, consider reaching for a hot herbal infusion and reflect on your state of mind as you ate. Use this time to breathe deep and reduce your stress–this can even help digestion long after eating.  And finally, just remember, you’ll feel better after you drink hot lemon water the next morning.

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