The digestive system is one of the most import systems within the body. Keeping your digestion in tip-top shape is essential to health and well-being. Below are some tips on how to maintain healthy and happy digestion.
Mindfulness is Magic: Being mindful while eating sets the tone for your entire digestive process. Being mindful could include simple things such as saying a prayer before eating, blessing your food, or just taking a deep breath before eating. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do whatever helps you become present and relaxed while eating.
It’s the Way you Chew: Chewing your food thoroughly is so important for a number of reasons. Chewing your food well coats it with your enzyme-rich saliva, which aids in the digestive process. Combined with this the chewing process breaks down your meal into smaller pieces which is much easier on your stomach. So next time you eat make sure to slowly chew and savor your food.
Bitters for the Belly: Bitters are amazing for digestion. Bitters are foods or herbs that we commonly consume. Some examples are dandelion, greens and even coffee! Humans evolved eating bitter foods but sadly today’s normal diet is lacking in bitters. Bitters are important because they help stimulate the digestive process by producing digestive enzymes and balancing HCL in the stomach. So next time before you eat take some bitters to get the process jumpstarted!
Ginger Tea for You and Me: Herbal teas are wonderful for your stomach. Ginger tea is one I especially love due to its warming qualities. Ginger stimulates the digestive “fire” helping the stomach release enzymes to assist in the digestion process. Along with this it is anti-inflammatory and helps with nausea. So next time before you eat brew yourself a cup of ginger tea!
Fermentation is Fun: Many cultures around the world eat fermented foods on a daily basis. The reason for this is that fermented foods are full of “friendly” probiotic bacteria as well as enzymes. Some traditional fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and even miso soup. Fermented foods are known to improve digestion, balance the bacteria in your gut and even boost your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. So invite your friends over and make a big vat of sauerkraut–your belly will thank you!
Exercise is Essential: That’s right, movement is amazing for your digestive health! Exercise has been shown to help speed up digestion, increase blood flow to your organs, and even stimulate muscles in the GI tract. So this spring make sure to get out there and move your body!
Let’s Talk about Stress Baby: Stress can wreak havoc on the body–especially on the digestive system. Keeping your stress in check is key to maintaining a happy digestive tract. Preventive care is the best so do those little things everyday that help you de-stress and relax. It could be yoga, meditating, taking a walk in nature or drinking tea and doing a crossword puzzle. Whatever that “thing” is that helps you relax make it a priority for your health.
If you like these tips and want to hear more I’ll be giving a talk on digestive health at this year’s Herbstalk. Thanks for reading and many blessings to everyone this spring.
Katie Munn is a clinical herbalist and Reiki practitioner. She graduated from the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism with over 2000 hours of course work in Western Herbalism and Nutrition. When not teaching classes you can find Katie seeing clients or growing herbs on the organic farm she lives on. You can learn more about Katie on her website, Anchor & Rose Apothecary.