3 Steps to Improve Your Digestion Today

By Lauren Fischer
improve digestion

Digestion is one of the foundations of health. Every cell that makes up every tissue that makes up every organ depends on the body’s digestive system to provide the nutrients it needs to keep on functioning. Digestion is the process that turns your food into fuel. It is what provides you with the energy to dominate a workout, be productive at work and play with your kids. Despite its importance, proper digestion is probably not one of the million things on your mind. There are so many demands for our attention today that, as a culture, we are too stressed to digest. It is time to slow down, prioritize meals and reap the benefits of increased energy and less digestive distress. Here are three steps you can take today to improve your digestion.

Sit down and unplug

We tend to live in a sympathetic (fight-or-flight) state due to chronic daily stressors like traffic and email. The problem is that digestion shuts down in fight-or-flight mode. Only in a parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) state can your body properly secrete stomach acid, breakdown food, and absorb and assimilate nutrients.

Switching from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest is as easy as sitting down and unplugging from distractions. Turn off the TV, put down the phone and take a seat in front of the meal or snack you are about to enjoy.

Take a minute to relax

Once you are seated, take a minute to really relax. Take a few deep breaths, appreciate the effort that went into preparing the food, and notice the beautiful aroma and colors of the food. Digestion actually begins in the brain. Just the sight and smell of food triggers the production of saliva and other gastric juices.

Chew, chew, chew

Your stomach is not prepared to handle intact foods, despite what you may have learned from Joey Chestnut, the competitive eater. Your stomach does not have teeth. Fortunately, your mouth does. Aim to chew each bite 20–30 times. This allows the food to be mechanically broken down by your teeth as well as chemically broken down by enzymes in saliva. Set your fork down between bites and savor your food.

These three steps prepare your food to travel through the remainder of the digestive system without a hitch, meaning less uncomfortable bloating, indigestion, and reflux and more nutrient absorption and energy.


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Lauren has been a member of the Gainesville community since her freshman year at the University of Florida in 2001. She graduated with her master’s in nursing in 2008 and practiced as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Gainesville and Live Oak, Florida. Seeing patients, especially children, with compromised quality of life due to poor lifestyle choices sparked Lauren to seek additional education in holistic nutrition and wellness. She became certified as a Nutrition Therapy Consultant through the Nutrition Therapy Association in 2015. Lauren aims to provide accurate and actionable health and wellness information that will help people live happier and healthier lives.