Digestion is the process in which your body breaks down the food you eat. Tons of things happen when you take that first bite and continue all the way until the end, when you use the rest room. There are many factors that affect how your body digests food and this week’s blog is going to educate you on all the things to do and of course, the things you should AVOID doing.
Types of Food
Eating foods high in fiber and protein will help keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Lean meats, whole grains, and legumes offer these benefits and can curb your appetite. Filling up on fruits and leafy green vegetables will give you as healthy balance of essential vitamins and minerals that will support digestion, and of course, water, water, and then some more water. Remember that the key is to balance your meals with a VARIETY of healthy foods. Avoid fried foods, foods high in fat, processed foods, soda, and fast food. Indulge once in awhile but don’t go overboard! Some foods can also relax your esophagus, causing heartburn. These foods to avoid include chocolate, spicy foods like chili peppers, and alcohol. People whom are lactose-intolerant should avoid dairy as much as possible, and those who suffer from diverticulitis should avoid berries with seeds (the seeds can easily become trapped in the pockets of the intestines). Corn is another food that seems innocent, however the fiber in corn cannot be broken down in the human body, easily causing cramps and stomach upset as well. So, enough of what you shouldn’t eat, let’s think about what you CAN eat:
Bananas – restore bowel functions
Yogurt – replenishes the ‘healthy’ gut bacteria in your digestive system
Cabbage – promotes the growth of healthy bacteria and helps to eliminate waste, keeping bowel functions working regularly
Lean Meats – easy to digest and helps lower your risk of cancer
Whole grains – high in fiber and helps lower cholesterol
In conjunction with the type of foods you’re eating, you also have to keep in mind your portions. This can be tricky, so here are some helpful tips: Your stomach is the size of your fist, so you want to avoid eating too much more than that. Forget those three meals a day – you want to eat 6 smaller meals throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) to keep your metabolism up and running, which means your body is working and burning calories. Eat off of a smaller plate; this allows you to fill your plate with food but also control your meal size. Don’t reach for seconds, and make sure half your plate is vegetables. Eating smaller portions will aid digestion and keep the process running smoothly; plus it will help avoid bloating.
Slow down there speedy! Eating at a slower pace gives your body time to process the mouthfuls of food, because the food has time to reach your stomach and slowly fill up. This also will give your brain time to receive messages from your stomach that say “hey – I’m full! Stop eating!”
So pace yourself, and make sure you sit down to relax and enjoy your meal.
Certain foods and herbs naturally help reduce inflammation, relieve feeling bloating, and help aid the process of digestion. Certain foods digested continuously over time also help relieve symptoms of illnesses that severely disrupt digestion, such as IBS (Irritable Bowel-Syndrome). Foods and herbs that naturally help reduce inflammation are ginger, spearmint, oregano, and turmeric.
Always listen to your body. Consult your health care professional for more advice and never forget your staff at Personal 1 Fitness is here to guide you on your fitness journey and answer all questions! We love giving tips and advice, so ask away! Happy eating!