Many people today are suffering from poor digestion, as well as related conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Crohn’s Disease, and things like heartburn.
Even if you’re not suffering from noticeable digestive troubles, we can all stand to level up our digestion, as it’s responsible for the daily absorption and assimilation of food into our bodies. Even healthy people can sometimes encounter digestive trouble because of a lack of fiber or other dietary problems.
That’s why I wanted to offer some powerful but simple strategies for improving your digestion. Keep reading for 4 tips you can start incorporating today!
Take a Short Walk After Eating
This is one of the most commonly suggested tricks to improve digestion, but it’s also easy, extremely effective, and backed by scientific research. Scientific studies conducted throughout the years have shown that a simple walk can help clear glucose out of your bloodstream, lowering blood sugar, and helping to move and assimilate food through your system at an improved rate. Indeed, a 2008 study showed that walking improves the rate at which food moves through/exits the stomach.
Walking also offers many other health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity/partitioning and decreased cardiovascular risk.
Try Eating Mostly Whole Foods
A lot of digestive problems result from eating ingredients in processed foods, and many people find that simply moving toward a diet built around more whole foods can massively improve their digestive troubles. This is likely because a whole foods diet will result in higher amounts of fiber, micronutrients, and gut-friendly foods.
For example, some of the best whole foods to improve digestion are:
- Yogurt and kefir
- Fruits like apples and oranges
- Dark green vegetables
- Ginger, turmeric, peppermint
- Whole grains
- Bone broth
If you don’t want to switch completely over to whole foods, try cutting out heavily processed or frozen foods, and incorporating some of the above whole foods to see if they improve your digestive health.
The Role of Zinc in Digestion
Many people don’t realize that zinc plays such an important role in the body overall, but also in the digestive system in particular. Zinc actually helps the body to produce stomach acid, as well as some of the digestive enzymes that are made by the pancreas. If you are deficient in zinc, bringing your intake up to healthy levels could have major benefits for your digestive system.
Switching to a more whole foods based diet will likely help you achieve healthier zinc levels, which will benefit not only your digestive system but many other areas of your health such as hormones, metabolism, and the immune system. By getting your zinc from whole foods, you are also ensuring better bioavailability and absorption than you might get with isolated zinc supplements.
Some of the whole foods highest in zinc are:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole grains
Drink Some Tea!
Drinking hot tea after your meals is another simple, cost-effective strategy that can have a big impact on your digestion. In particular, I would recommend Puerh tea and Gynostemma.
Puerh is a specific kind of aged tea produced in Yunnan, China, having originated there thousands of years ago. Puerh acquires a beautiful dark color and rich flavors due to the natural fermentation that takes place throughout its aging process. Puerh has been used traditionally for hundreds of years, usually after meals to help assimilate the food and nutrients and aid in digestion. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, puerh helps to clear coldness and dampness, open the meridians, and warm the spleen and stomach. This makes it beneficial for “blood cleansing” and for improved digestion. It’s important to note that Puerh is also caffeinated, and best enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon.
For a non-caffeinated, herbal alternative, Gynostemma is an excellent choice. Gynostemma is a delicious herbal adaptogen that can be enjoyed in the morning or evening, whenever you find yourself needing that extra digestive boost. Gynostemma is also known to benefit the body in a variety of other ways, such as improving energy levels and endurance capacity.
If you find yourself struggling with digestive problems, some of the solutions may be simple things you can start incorporating into your life today. Try walking after meals, eating more whole foods, enjoying some tea with or after your food, and consider trying to get more zinc into your diet through natural food sources. Thanks for reading!