Eating to maintain healthy digestion is critical to achieving optimal health. Digestive disruption, sometimes quite obvious, and other times unrecognized, is often a primary stumbling block in one’s journey to wellness. Since 60-80% of your immune system is in your gut, improving digestive function is the first step to calming systemic inflammation and improving immunity.
Eating to support healthy digestion and removing the stressors that cause irritation, starts with a basic Paleo template:
1 – eat whole foods that provide optimal, nutrient-dense fuel for your body and
2 – avoid processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods.
This means avoiding grains, legumes (beans), refined sugar, and pasteurized dairy products.
The next steps to improving digestion function, as found in my free 1-page downloadable Guide to: digestion are as follows.
1. Relax and get yourself into the “Rest-and-Digest” parasympathetic dominant mode.
2. Chew your food slowly and completely to begin digestive signaling between your brain and your mouth and to prepare food for initial breakdown in the stomach.
3. Minimize water intake with meals to maintain stomach acid concentration. Drink water in between meals when thirsty to promote healthy transit time and ensure food doesn’t linger in the large intestine.
4. Avoid foods that are irritating to the system (primarily refined foods, grain products, legumes, and processed dairy) to allow for the best possible function of the small intestinal lining.
5. Avoid other dietary and lifestyle practices that promote leaky gut
6. Eat probiotic foods regularly: sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented vegetables, kombucha, yogurt, or kefir from grass-fed and reputable raw milk sources.
7. Use a box or platform to elevate your feet when eliminating; moving from a seated position to the more natural squatting position may help stool pass more easily.
Enjoy your food, and hold positive thoughts while you consume it.
In my book,Practical Paleo , I teach you about the digestive system, how to fix it including meal plans, lifestyle changes and supplement recommendations. On this website, check out the Healthy Digestion page, which contains a number of articles, podcasts, and other references related to digestive function.