Proper digestive function is crucial for establishing and maintaining optimal health. The cornerstones of good health include proper digestion of food, assimilation of nutrients, exclusion of pathogens and timely elimination of waste. Poor digestion and malabsorption of vital nutrients can contribute to degenerative diseases, compromised immune function and nutritional deficiencies. Impairment of intestinal functions can contribute to the development of food allergies, systemic illnesses, autoimmune disease, and toxic overload. Here are the 6 do's and dont's for a healthy digestive system:
Do: Eat mainly cooked foods, avoiding cold and raw foods. Cooked foods are more easily digested (especially soups and stews) so you actually absorb more nutrients.
Don't: Don’t eat excessive cold, frozen, or raw foods. Cold and raw foods are difficult to digest and the body has to heat them up to digest, so you end up absorbing less nutrients.
Do: Prepare foods by baking, broiling, stirfrying, slow-cooking, roasting, toasting or pressure cooking. These methods are best to promote optimal digestion.
Don't: Don't juice or blend your food. Limit foods that are cold or freezing in temperature. Juicing/blending turns foods immediately into sugar. Cold foods cause sluggish digestion.
Do: Drink liquids at room temperature, warm or hot. Drinking liquids that are close to body temperature helps to improve digestion.
Don't: Don't drink cold drinks, frozen drinks, or put ice in your drinks. Drinking cold drinks during or after meals congeals food and makes it difficult to digest.
Do: Drink between meals and drink one cup of hot water or tea after meals. Warm water or tea helps to improve peristalsis.
Don't: Don't drink with while eating. Drinking while eating can dilute stomach acid and digestive enzymes needed to absorb nutrients, which slows your digestive function and causes bloating.
Do: Eat in a calm and relaxed environment. Choose a setting you feel relaxed in and avoid eating in your car or while working.
Don't: Don’t eat when stressed, angry or upset. Your digestive system can't function optimally under excess stress or stimulation. Stress impedes digestion and contributes to the development of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers.
Do: Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly. Digestion starts in the mouth. Enzymes in your saliva are essential in digesting your food properly.
Don't: Don’t scarf down food in a hurry. Eating too quickly can cause belching, gas, flatulence, bloating and a stuck feeling caused by food that has not been digested well.