Many people suffer from gastrointestinal problems. Often expensive testing is done that frequently shows no structural abnormalities. Most physicians are not equipped to treat functional gastrointestinal disorders. Functional gastrointestinal disorders present in many ways and problems may originate in one or more areas. The first thing that we can do to improve functional gastrointestinal disorders is to properly chew our food. It may sound simplistic, but it is more difficult than you may think. How many times do you chew your food with each bite? Certainly the type of food you ingest will vary the number of times you chew, but just think about the average. Watch people in public places as they eat. Frequently I do this exercise and I see people taking massive bites of food, chewing a few times, and then forcing the food down which often requires drinking liquids to get the food down. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that this is a set up for a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Here are a few tips you can employ to improve your gastrointestinal health.
- Prepare your food. Cooking your own food gets your brain prepared for the meal. The aromas stimulate salivary production and saliva contains important digestive enzymes that are necessary to break down food for proper absorption.
- Sit down! So many of us eat on the go. This rushed food experience is not conducive to proper digestion or absorption. In fact, feeling rushed while eating stimulates cortisol release which promotes belly fat.
- Take your time and be thankful for your meal. Studies show that simply taking a few moments prior to digging in improves digestion. If someone else prepares your meals for you and your family it’s also nice to show appreciation for this effort. Eating quickly also encourages swallowing of air which causes flatulence.
- Chew your food 30 times. Yes, 30 times. And yes, with each bite. Your food should be mush before you swallow. Chewing stimulates release of saliva and digestive enzymes. Studies also show that chewing food more causes us to eat less. That’s good for the waistline! When food is not properly chewed the nutrients within the food cannot be properly absorbed. Undigested food has more exposure to the bacteria in your intestines which also creates more flatulence and bloating.
- Don’t eat alone. When we eat alone we tend to eat much faster. That prohibits us from following all the above steps. Eating in the presence of others encourages conversation. This slows the process and allows us to properly chew and digest our food. So grab a friend and then grab lunch!
Following these simple steps for the proper intake of food will certainly promote healthy digestion and absorption. This is the key first step to preventing functional gastrointestinal disorders.