Avoid overeating. Try to resist eating until you actually feel full.
Chew, chew, chew. This decreases the amount of stomach acid and enzymes required to digest your food and makes it easier to breakdown.
Don’t drink with meals. Wait at least 15 minutes before and after eating as drinking too many fluids dilutes digestive juices, stomach enzymes and acids which can slow down or cause indigestion.
Don’t eat in a rush. Breathe and relax. To properly digest food the body and mind must be in a parasympathetic “rest and digest” relaxed state. I’ll be the first to admit I inhale my food when in a hurry - try to create a relaxing environment and slow down even if it takes you an extra 5 or 10 minutes.
Practice food sequencing. Eat foods that are easier to digest first (juices, fruit, vegetables, soups) before foods that take longer to digest (grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, fish, poultry, and meat last). This can reduce gas and bloating since it helps prevent food from fermenting in the intestines while it waits for more difficult foods to be digested.
Practice proper food combining. Eat fruit alone or 10-15 minutes before the rest of your meal (unless diabetic). Never consume starchy foods with protein foods. i.e. no pasta/rice/potatoes with meat or fish. Vegetables can be eaten with anything.
Consider digestive aids. Taking digestive enzymes with meals can help to reduce gas, bloating, food allergies & indigestion etc. Apple Cider Vinegar also promotes gastric juices (hydrochloric acid) to help break down proteins. Food enzymes like Papaya (papain enzyme) and pineapple (bromelain enzyme) also contain enzymes to help proper digestion. Digestive herbs like ginger, fennel and cardamom also assist in stimulating digestion.
Identify food sensitivities – Try to eliminate any foods that you may be sensitive to. Food allergens can irritate the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and cause inflammation, bloating and gas. This may also reduce our absorption of nutrients and may lead to intestines becoming more permeable triggering conditions like ‘leaky gut’ which affects our immune system and makes us more sensitive to foods and environmental substances.
Avoid distractions. Don’t eat while walking, watching TV, driving, reading etc. Focus on the act of eating for optimal enzyme production and nutrient absorption.
Move! Aerobic exercise keeps food moving through the digestive tract and helps us burn off excess energy. Some of the best exercises for digestion are walking and rebounding.