Digestion starts in the brain and involves all our senses. It starts when you engage your brain in thinking about food, smelling it and admiring a meal. In response, your brain prepares your body for digestion, releasing hormones and digestive enzymes that break down the food into absorbable nutrients. The process continues in the mouth, grinding up the food, and enzymes in our saliva beginning the breakdown.
When we don’t chew our food slowly or long enough to slow the digestive process to happen as it should, bloating and heartburn can occur. Follow these tips to help aid in digestion for a happier you!
Tips to Help Digestion
Stay Hydrated- Not drinking enough water can slow down your digestive system and cause stools to harden. Make sure to drink plenty of water and fluids throughout the day, especially when you exercise. A good way to determine if you are getting enough fluids is if your urine is clear.
Get Moving- Taking part in regular physical activity can help to speed up digestion. 30 minutes of exercise a day can help to combat a sluggish digestive system for a more comfortable you.
Eat Slowly- Taking your time to eat and consuming your food slowly can really benefit your digestive system. Chewing each bite of food about 20 times gives your stomach time to prepare to digest nutrients, and allows your brain to tell your body when it’s full. Try not to eat in front of the TV or computer to avoid over-eating.
Eat Fiber- Fiber is important to the digestive process in that it keeps your bowel movements regular. It also helps to keep your blood sugar at a steady level and helps to reduce gassiness and constipation. Plant foods are high in fiber so eat your veggies, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Work on getting about half of your calories from plant-based foods.
Following these steps can help to improve your digestive process, which your body will thank you for! If you are interested in learning more about digestion or nutrition, contact Robinson MD in St Petersburg today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Robinson.