Is there anything I could do to have a stronger digestive system? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
To have a stronger digestive system, you’ll need to address many of the factors that affect digestion. Start with the the top end of your digestive tract. You can make a dramatic improvement to your digestion simply by chewing your food well. Most of us chew a few times and then swallow, eager to take our next bite. Chewing helps to break down food and mix it with saliva- an enzyme to help breakdown carbohydrates. Skipping this step means that your stomach has to work even harder to do this job. We forget that even liquid calories like smoothies should be chewed, to do this same process.
Another easy way to improve digestion is to slow down and take a pause before you turn your mouth into a vacuum cleaner. When we inhale food quickly due to high stress levels, we aren’t able to mentally process that we just ate. Slow down and making the eating process more conscious. Take a few breaths before you take that first bite. Then put your fork down in between bites to make the meal last longer. You’ll be able to take more pleasure out of the eating process and will end up feeling more fulfilled when you’re done.
To make your digestive system stronger, pay attention to the quality of foods going in. Not all foods are good for all people. If foods cause you to have gas or bloating, constipation or diarrhea, you’ll want to reduce or eliminate these foods. Common culprits for GI upset are dairy, gluten, eggs, pop, sugar and fructose.
Sometimes healthy foods like beans and raw vegetables can produce gas and bloating. It can take time to change over your army of gut bacteria. The bacteria that break down vegetables are different than the ones that break down refined carbohydrates. To be able to properly digest new foods, you need to start slow. Use well cooked vegetables and back off on cooking time as you tolerate them. Chop them fine and chew them well to help break down the fiber too.
Be persistent with diet changes. Foods that you can’t stomach right now aren’t off the table forever. Try them again in a few weeks or a few months. You’ll be surprised at how much your gut can change over time. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find out all the other health benefits of improving your gut function. You’ll likely notice clearer skin, better mood, more patience and improved energy.
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