When we improve our digestion, we can boost our immune system, lose weight, feel less bloated, and uncover hidden food allergies. In other words: when we digest with ease, we look and feel fabulous! Here are five simple tips to improve your digestion: 

1. Slow down. 
 
Stop and actually sit down when you eat. Your body needs your mind to be calm in order to digest. If you're nervous, your digestive system is in "fight or flight" mode. It cannot work properly when it is stressed. 

Before you eat, remember to take a deep breath. Be grateful for the food you're about to eat. Also, check in with your body. Focus on being present in the moment and have awareness. Don't shove food in your mouth as you're running out the door or eat while standing at the counter. (We've all done it, including yours truly.) 
 
Try this amazing exercise I learned in nutrition school to develop your awareness and start to slow down.
  • Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position, breathe through your nose, and notice how the air is slightly cooler going in and slightly warmer going out.
  • Place one hand over our heart and one hand over your belly.
  • Feel your heart beating and thank your heart for being there for you all day every day, pumping your blood and keeping you alive.
  • Feel your belly, noticing the rise on the inhale and the fall on the exhale.
  • Thank your belly for digesting all the food you eat.
  • Sit silently with your eyes closed, and allow yourself to be with yourself.
  • When you feel ready, take a deep inhale and exhale, open our eyes, rise and move back into your day
2. Chew, chew, chew. 
 
Digestion begins in your mouth. Remember when you were little and your mother would tell you slow down and chew your food so that you would not choke? That always annoyed me as a child, but Mom had a good point. When you do not chew your food, it sets the stage for poor digestion. Poor digestion opens the door to weight gain, acne, constipation, and IBS, to name a few. Serious health issues are not far behind. Most importantly, when you do not digest properly your body cannot transform your food into energy. 

I suggest 30 chews per bite. (Remember that your stomach does not have teeth!) 
 
3. Check out!
 
Yes, you heard me. Put down the phone, blackberry, and iPad. Turn off the TV and sit down and enjoy the activity of eating. Give yourself some quiet time so you can de-stress and digest! I know life gets busy. But living and eating this way is causing you to miss the moment you're in. 
 
Start by taking just one minute out of your day to breathe and think of anything that makes you happy.
 
4. Get cultured. 
 
Start adding a good, quality probiotic to your daily routine. Incorporating cultured foods and drinks to your life, such as yogurt, miso, dairy or non-dairy kefir, kefir water, kombucha, cultured vegetables, and other cultured foods is a great way to improve digestion and overall health. These foods have been around for centuries. 

By adding these foods or another high quality probiotic to your lifestyle, you will lose weight, assimilate your nutrients better, have clearer skin, better sleep, and decrease your body’s inflammation. Preventing inflammation prevents disease.

5. Clean the junk off your plate. 
 
Eat simple and eat clean. Our digestive system cannot digest junk. When we eat junk, we end up feeling like junk. Simple, right? I find that people often think that they are eating clean, but actually they're eating foods that are wreaking havoc on their body and causing inflammation. Food either gives us inflammation or fuel. I always vote for fuel!
 
What is the food on your plate really doing for you?
 
Remember that what worked for you at one point in your life may not be working any more. Listen to the cues or signals your body is giving you. If you need support, contact me about how I can help! 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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