Your digestion system is one of the most important organs for a good health. If it doesn´t work properly you can have a number of symptoms that make life more difficult. It can be bloating, headaches, heart burn, fatigue and lots of other symptoms. If your intestines don´t absorb the nutrition it doesn´t matter how healthy you eat. You have to start fixing your gut. There are many ways taking care of the digestive system. Here are shortly the 6 most important things to start with, that can be a big help for your gut.
Many of us drink too little water. We need around 30 ml/kg, and that makes it almost 2 liter if your weight is 60 kg! Without enough liquid you can have constipation and other problems like headaches. So I really think if you have health issues, The first thing you should do is to increase your intake of water if it´s too low.
Another great advice is if you have problem eliminating in the morning you can start with a lukewarm glass of water the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning. (Yes I know… You heard it before and you´ll probably hear it again ☺ )
Chew the food
Maybe this sounds ridiculous? Of course you chew your food!? Maybe you do, but do you really chew your food until the consistency is smooth, mushy and easy to digest? The less chewed the more work for the gut. So now you think, “ok I can make a lot of smoothies, then it´s already “chewed””! Yes, kind of, but you miss some important parts in the process. When you chew you also produce important emzymes that are important in the digestion process and the chewing also stimulates the parotid glands (behind the ears in the jaw) to release hormones that stimulates the immune system! If you drink smoothies, which are great, try to chew it.
Another thing you can think about is to eat in peace and harmony. Many of us eat in a hurry, in front of the computer multitasking etc. That makes you not so focused on chewing your food properly. Try to focus only on eating. Try for one week and feel if there is any difference.
Avoid food your gut doesn´t like
It seems to be an epidemic of intolerances of different food these days. But if you think about it, it´s not that strange. It´s so easy today to buy a lot of food, like bread, pasta, cookies, junk food, coffee etc. If we go back in time, it was not that easy to eat bread. First you had to plant, harvest, grind and bake. A lot of work, right? So maybe we are not built to eat these quantities of certain food?
Do you feel what food makes you bloated, constipated or tired? Many that stops eating gluten and/or dairy say it makes a huge different in their wellbeing.The most common food sensitivities are gluten, milk, soy, coffee, alcohol, meat, egg, nuts. Try to stop eating one of them, like gluten, and feel how it feels, if it makes a difference for you. Avoiding certain food that your intestines can´t take, makes them have a fair chance to heal again.
Add food your gut needs
The first thing I would suggest adding to your diet is good bacteria like probiotic, kefir or fermented food. Your intestines have around 1-2 kg of bacteria! Or they should have. The bacteria help a lot with the digestion producing certain vitamins, detoxifying and also help the immune system.
A very easy way of having your cultured food is to make sauerkraut.. Your intestines also need fibers, so always make sure you eat your veggies!
Reduce your stress
Your gut doesn´t like stress. When you´re stressed the parasympathetic nervous system activity decrease and then the digestion also slows down. Therefore include some body and mind exercises in your life. Meditate, do yoga, have a moment of your own doing nothing, be in the nature.
The FREE Introduction to Yoga for Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain is good to start with, if you want to try some yoga.
Stop multitasking, doing many things at one time. We are so used to do many things at a time so we don´t even think about it as stressful. But when you´re multitasking you´re body and mind is alert and in a fight and flight state, that increases the cortisol. Having a high level of cortisol as permanent state is not good in the long run.
Some yoga poses that helps your digestion
There are some yoga poses that can help if you have problems with your digestion. These are very good if you
Squat down and maintain the position. Keep your spine straight and your toes pointing as much forward as possible. Wrap your arms around your knees and interlace your fingers. Long Deep Breaths, relax your body. If you need to, place a towel or blanket under your heels to support. 1-3 min. Come out of the pose and relax in Easy Pose.
Put your hands on the knees in Easy Pose, rotate the lower body, moving from the navel point. Move your body clockwise in big circles. Gradually allow the whole abdominal area to relax and release. Inhale on the rotation in front, exhale back. Stay conscious of the breath as it helps create the movement. After 1-3 minutes change direction and rotate anti-clockwise.
Of course there is a lot of other things you can do to improve your digestion. These 6 advises are only a smal part of what you can begin to think about. Other helpful advises will come in future articles and some of the 6 advices I´ll write more about.
Don´t feel totally stressed by all the things you can do! Try out one or two things at a time. Making active healthy choises for you, will pay off in the long run. It´s never too late to start.
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”