Contributed by: Rachana Arya
You aren’t just what you eat — more accurately, you are what you digest and absorb.
And that brings digestion to the spotlight, and its role that utilises nourishment from the food we eat to build—and rebuild—our body.
You need to remember that every part of your digestive system needs to be working properly.
If you’re not digesting your food properly; your body cells cannot produce the powerful enzymes required for digesting and metabolising those foods.
Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your gut health, so that you are getting all those valuable nutrients from the foods you are eating.
Follow these simple don’ts to get your digestion back on track and support your gut health.
Don’t overcook your vegetables
Overcooking food not only destroys many vital nutrients and enzymes but also drains the natural flavour.
Simmering foods at a lower temperature can make foods easier to digest. Try to avoid exposing vegetables to heat as much as possible to avoid disrupting the digestive function and nutrition.
Don’t mix fruits with other foods
Supporters of this approach to eating claim that a certain combination of foods, like fruits and vegetables, can cause toxic build-up and create compatibility issues and impair digestion.
The basic premise of this principle is basically that different categories of foods have different paces of digestion and require different digestive environments.
Many nutritionists say that fruits have a quicker pace of digestion and in fact, they are completely digested in one to two hours.
Vegetables, on the other hand, take closer to two and a half hours. Moreover, fruits have more sugar content which can hinder the digestive process of vegetables.
Instead of mixing fruits and vegetables, try combining one of your meals with some good old soup on the side to ease things through your system.
Don’t drink water during meals
There is some research or evidence that claims that drinking water during meals is detrimental to digestion.
While a few sips in between is fine, many studies and experts say that having too much water during meals dilutes vital digestive acids and enzymes, which can in turn severely impair proper digestion.
Drinking water during meals is not recommended for people suffering from gastro-oesophagal reflux disease (GERD), as it may increase the risk of acid reflux further worsening the condition of those with GERD.
Try to drink water 30 minutes before your meal and an hour after the meal to allow the body to absorb the nutrients.
Don’t overeat late at night
Late dinners and eating late, in general, can not only add more pounds but also have a negative impact on optimal digestion.
This is because when you eat late, the calories you intake don’t get digested properly.
Studies suggest that eating late at night leads to several gastric issues due to excessive acid secretion in the stomach.
Moreover, eating out of our normal rhythm interacts with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
It is recommended to avoid eating during the two hour period before bed.
Don’t sleep or nap straight after eating
Lying down after eating is not a good idea, as it increases the chance of stomach acid travelling up into the oesophagus, and irritates the lining which causes heartburn.
Over time, this can increase the risk of oesophagal cancer. You should try to refrain from reclining or lying down within at least two hours after eating.
Don’t drink alcohol
Frequent or excess consumption of alcohol can inhibit your gut’s ability to absorb crucial nutrients and proteins.
Additionally, drinking large quantities of alcohol increases acid rising up from your stomach into your throat (known as acid reflux), or causing heartburn.
Over weeks or months, this could develop painful ulcers in your stomach lining.
Don’t consume processed foods
One of the best things you can do for your gut health is to ditch processed food.
They are nutritionally deficient, addictive, and contain pro-inflammatory ingredients that can set you up for a myriad of digestive health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticular disease.
Most of these foods tend to be loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients, refined carbs, and trans fats. Good digestion starts with eating whole, healthy natural foods which are digested much more efficiently than processed foods loaded with chemicals.
Put simply, what you eat directly affects all aspects of your digestive health and subsequent overall well-being.
Take the time to learn about ways to improve the function of the digestive tract to live better—and longer—lives.
So, stop cheating yourself on the nutrients that are in the food. Enough messing about – get your diet and eating sorted.
It’s also highly recommended to take regular stomach tests to keep a check on your digestive health, especially if you experience the symptoms of an unhealthy stomach, frequently.
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