5 Tips to Manage Digestive Problems

It is useful to understand what interferes with healthy digestion. In Chinese medicine all organs and energy pathways

Excessive burping, belching, acid reflux, abdominal bloating and embarrassing wind are all signs that not all is well with your digestive system. Drugs to treat indigestion and acid reflux are amongst the largest money spinners for drug companies.

Digestive Support Tips

Tip #1: Take a couple of minutes to relax before you eat, (no eating on the run), so energy can flow into your stomach and allow the secretion of digestive juices. Breathe slowly and deeply. You may want to use a ritual like lighting a candle or spending a couple of minutes in gratitude.

Tip #2: Half to one glass of water hydrates the food you are eating and helps you digest food. No matter what you have been told in the past about not drinking with your meal, this is not correct, but only for pure water! Do not drink tea, coffee or soft drinks.

Tip #3: Chew your food well, until it is thoroughly mixed with saliva and becomes liquid. This primes your body for good digestion! Put your knife and fork down on the plate between mouthfuls and savour the flavour of your food.

Tip #4: Fruit is best eaten between meals. It digests very quickly (about 20 minutes) if it is eaten by itself. However, if fruit sits in your stomach with protein, which may take several hours to break down, the fruit will produce gas. This can cause your stomach to blow up like a balloon and increase pressure against the valve at the top of your stomach. Excessive burping and acid reflux into the esophagus are the result. It ulcerates the esophagus and burns like hell!

Tip #5: Make sure you eat plenty of fresh, unrefined food. Bitter salads assist in triggering the body into producing digestive juices. You can add herbal digestive teas either 20 minutes before eating or 1 hour after. My favourites are Chamomile, Dandelion, Peppermint and Meadowsweet.

Bonus Tip Food sensitivities are often responsible for acid reflux symptoms, asthey have a weakening effect on the cardiac sphincter which closes the top of your stomach. This means that when you lie down a little of stomach acid can seep into the esophagus.

If you suspect food sensitivities, try taking out the 5 top trouble makers out of your diet:

Without proper digestion, you will become deficient in Vitamins, Minerals, Essential Fatty Acids and Amino Acids, the nutrients that are essential to feed, protect and renew your trillion cells, keeping you healthy.

It is also useful to understand what interferes with healthy digestion. In Chinese medicine all organs and energy pathways (meridians) are linked to one of 5 Elements, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each element has a yin and a yang component. The yin organs are solid, work all the time, and are essential for immediate survival. They include the Heart, Kidneys, Lungs and Liver. The yang organs are hollow and do not work all the time. They include the Stomach, Large and Small Intestines and Gall Bladder.

If the body is under high stress, the body will shift energy from yang energy pathways to yin for a more effective response to the need for survival. This prepares the body to run further, fight harder and survive. The yang or hollow organs can wait for their share of energy until the perceived danger has passed. In the cave days, we would have outrun or fought off the danger (like an attacking animal), and everything would have come back to normal back in our cave. In today’s world we may stay in stress day after day without our digestive organs getting enough energy to do their job fully. Here is the key – the higher your stress levels, the lower the energy to digest food properly. This has many consequences, and can become a vicious cycle. If you are not digesting your food, your body doesn't get the protein building blocks to create digestive juices and digestive enzymes.

When you are under stress, food choices may be compromised with "comfort foods" (usually sugar and fat laden treats) and takeaways. Food will sit in the stomach too long, creating gas which leads to the burping and belching digestive problems. The body is busy surviving the stress, while the secretion of digestive juices has to wait. Begin by reducing the stress levels to assist you to digest food well.

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