Natural Secrets to Better Digestion

by Dr. David Minkoff March 01, 2018 4 min read

Natural Secrets to Better Digestion

Digestion is the engine of our health.

It’s how we get our energy, nutrition, vitality.

But when it goes off, it can throw our whole system out of whack.

Ultimately, many digestive issues can be traced back to a low level of stomach acid. Stomach acid sets the stage for the rest of the process

Even heartburn and GERD, conditions that feellike there is too much acid are actually symptoms of too little.

And this is where pharmaceutical solutions go wrong. Most inhibit acid production, compounding the underlying problem.

We need simple, easy, natural solutions.

So what can you do?

To restore your digestive balance, there are a few key places where you can make small alterations for big results:

WHAT you eat, HOW you eat, WHEN you eat, and BEFORE you eat.

Most people focus on “before you eat” supplements: it’s easy, external, doesn’t require behavior change.

But this is only one step in the process. By integrating each of these aspects, you can restore your digestion naturally.

 

What You Eat: Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine

Diet is one of the most impactful steps you can take to lower your stomach pH and restore your digestion. A clean diet rich in vegetables, fiber, and healthy protein does wonders for all aspects of health.

MINIMIZE: excess alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy, factory-farm meat, chemical exposure (pesticides, pollution, etc.)

EAT MORE: vegetables, especially the leafy greens, fiber to help regulate your gut microbiome and bowels, and healthy protein like lentils, sustainably sourced fish, and organic, humanely treated meat.  (factory farm animals have very high levels of stress hormones and antibiotics in the meat, which has a negative impact on your health.)

 

How You Eat: Relax, Slow Down, and Enjoy

Once you’ve got your gorgeous big plate full of organic vegetables, clean protein, we encounter another problem area for busy, modern individuals.

Many people eat in a rush, gobbling down food in mere minutes.

If your stomach is a small fire, these massive pieces of partially chewed food are huge wet logs.

They need to be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks to burn well. So relax, take your time enjoy your food. Feel the taste and the texture.

This translates into two important action steps:

  1. Chew your food thoroughly. Chewing roughly 30 times will break down your food properly. This is easier on your stomach and will give you more energy and nutrition. (you’ll taste more, too!)

  2. Eat smaller meals. The amount of food going into the stomach can overload its digestive capacity and create problems like indigestion and heartburn.

 

When You Eat: Recovery For Your Stomach

The timing of when you eat is a little-known secret of robust digestive health – not to mention overall health, immunity, detoxing, energy, and even muscle building.

Digestion actually turns off other important body processes like detoxing, healing, building new protein and enzymes, and resetting your digestive system. Every athlete needs recovery time – so does your stomach.

Fasting and Intermittent fasting are powerful ways to give your body a chance to clean itself, rebuild, and rebalance[1]. These are deep topics, so here is quick overview.

Intermittent fastingis a protocol that keeps your food consumption into a tight window of time, generally between 6 and 8 hours in a day. This gives your body a nice long rest to fully absorb the food, cleanse, and heal itself. For example, if your first meal is at 10am, your last meal of the day would be around 5pm.

Fasting is the total abstinence from solid food. A 3-5 day fast can powerfully activate your immune system, trigger major detox, reset your digestion, but even a 1-day fast can bring many benefits. Be sure to inform yourself and consult your health professional before undergoing a major fast.

Avoid Eating Before Bedis recommended advice for everyone. Digestion uses a lot of your body’s energy. It diverts it away from other important activities like growing, healing, and cleaning. These are all processes that primarily occur at night while you sleep, so eating before bed can actually disrupt your natural biorhythms and impact your health. It may not always be possible, but try to eat at least 3 hours before going to sleep.

 

Before You Eat: Natural Remedies to Ramp Up Digestion

Before you eat, you can give your stomach a little boost to help it get ready for all the hard work of digestion.

Here are 3 natural remedies for getting your digestion into high gear:

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar has dozens of documented health benefits. Lowering your stomach pH is just one of them. Taking a tablespoon diluted in water 20 minutes before meals will help lower your stomach pH and ramp up your digestive power.

  2. Digestive Enzymes are crucial for proper digestion. When stomach acid is weak, you may not produce as many of these necessary enzymes. Taking digestive enzymes before meals for a while will help restore your digestion and bring your system back into balance. Once your system is back in balance, your body will begin making its own once again.

  3. Digestive Bitters are a time-honored herbal remedy for digestive issues. They don’t taste very pleasant, but they help stimulate the secretion of digestive fluid, enzymes, and acid, which will ultimately help you restore balance to your stomach and therefore the rest of your digestive system.

  4. Betaine HCl is a more modern solution than the others presented here, but is still 100% natural and highly effective. HCl is hydrochloric acid – stomach acid. It is stronger than apple cider vinegar, more significantly lowering your stomach pH for better digestion and activation of digestive enzymes. Betaine is an amino acid with potent digestion-enhancing and nutrient processing effects.

 

The natural secrets presented here are not new – these have stood the test of time. They have helped humans for centuries.

With patience and persistence, they can help you as well.

 



References:
  1. Anton SD, et al., Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying the Health Benefits of Fasting. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Feb;26(2):254-268.