Guest Blog Post by Iris Higgins, gluten-free cook book author and blogger of www.thedailydietribe.com, hypnotherapist with master's degree in psychology plus a Women's Wellness Wizard. Be sure to check out her very insightful and informative blog for great recipes and more.
As important as it is to eat the right foods and take the correct vitamins, it is equally vital that you optimize your digestion to better absorb the nutrients you're taking in. Individuals with compromised digestion, such as those with Celiac or Crohn's Disease, may have more trouble actually absorbing nutrients.
Stress Reduction Improves Digestion
One of the simplest - and often overlooked - ways to improve digestion and absorption is via stress reduction. Stress and anxiety during meals can decrease one's ability to digest food, thereby also decreasing the optimal absorption of nutrients. Here are some quick tips for decreasing stress before, during, and after meals so you can be sure you're getting the most out of them!
- Don't eat standing up or while driving your car. Likewise, turn off the TV and move away from the computer. Meals and snacks should be eaten while sitting down and focusing on your meal. This allows your body to recognize that it's eating and focus its attention on that.
- When you sit down to a meal, take 30 seconds to take some slow breaths in and out. If you like, use this time to say grace or give thanks for the gift of your food. This allows your body time to calm down and prepares your body to eat.
- Begin meals with a salad that includes bitter greens, like dandelion greens or arugula. Bitter greens will promote the secretion of bile, which aids in digestion.
- Once you're done eating, give yourself another 30 seconds to take some relaxing breaths. If you can, do some gentle stretches or take a walk around the block. Try not to lie down immediately, as this can interfere with the digestive process and cause heartburn for some people.
- Don't forget that these tips also apply for taking your vitamins and supplements. Set up a routine for yourself so that you're not taking them as you run out the door. Take them with your meals, or if taken separately, sit down and use it as a five minute break in your day.
Less stress = better digestion = better absorption of nutrients = a happier, healthier you!