Top 5 Tips to Improve Digestion

by Laurel on December 9, 2012

Digestion may not be the most riveting thing to talk about, but it’s a vital process that drastically affects our quality of life. Drawing from the wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine, digestion is the key to our health. It’s the ultimate reflection of our physical and mental/emotional well-being. Taking into account that every body is different (bio-individuality), these top tips for improving digestion are things I’ve learned during my training as a health coach and my own experience.

1. Add more spices to your meals. You may not know it, but many spices are healing for your body’s digestive system. I love adding spices to my salads, soups, and sandwiches whenever I get the chance. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and helps relieve indigestion. Cardamom and cumin relieve flatulence. Black pepper increases saliva and gastric juices. Coriander improves abdominal discomfort related to irritable bowel syndrome. Ginger is often used to treat nausea. Fenugreek tea cleans the digestive tract walls.

2. Drink water with lemon throughout the day. Lemon juice has traditionally been used as a digestive tonic and also to support healthy acidic levels in the stomach. Drinking lots of lemon water keeps your digestive tract hydrated and lubricated, easing digestion and reducing the risk of stomach ulcers. Many top health experts say that drinking a glass of lemon water is the best thing you can do first thing in the morning.

Lemon water

3. Meditate for 15 minutes every day. Since digestion is so closely tied to our emotional state and level of stress, I would argue that meditating and deep breathing are the most beneficial thing you can do. “Research done in recent years proves there is a real connection between the digestive tract and the nervous system.” (Food Matters) Try downloading guided meditations to your mp3 player or phone so you always have them nearby. Read this Everyday Health article about a study that found “mindfulness training can actually help improve IBS symptoms.”

4. Reduce/remove dairy from your diet. Dairy is one of the most common food allergens, often causing bloating, constipation, and digestive discomfort. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “about 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products.” Check out my post on easy dairy substitutes.

Peach Crumble with Vegan Whipped Cream

5. Get lots of exercise. Healthy exercise, especially core-strengthening and low impact movements, increases blood flow and encourages better movement and absorption in your internal organs. Exercise is also another fantastic way to reduce stress. Just remember to wait 1-2 hours after eating before you work out. Try these stretching exercises targeted towards digestive health.

Have another tip that’s worked well for you? Share it in a comment here. If you’ve tried the above tips and consistently have digestive discomfort, I highly recommend trying an elimination diet and/or getting tested for food sensitivities. You can read more on this from Dr. Mark Hyman on The Huffington Post.

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