1. Chew your food, take the time to break your food into smaller pieces. When food is broken down it is easier for your digestive system to absorb the nutrients from the food. Think of your dish washer, if you rinse of the plates of excess food before you put them in the dishwasher. The dish washer is going to have an easier time cleaning the plates (extends the life of your dishwasher, less food caught in the machine). Your plates are going to be cleaner as no lumps of food are going to be stuck onto the plate which the hot water couldn’t remove.
Chewing provides two major aids to digestion.
A. It increases the surface area of the food you are trying to digest.
B. Chewing also coats your food with your saliva which contains amylase, this is an enzyme that starts the breakdown of carbohydrates in your mouth.
If you skip chewing, whole chunks of food may make their way into your small intestine, they will be too big for your digestive system to break down easily. This will create more work for your digestive system and can lead to food intolerances. If your food has not been mixed with amylase (saliva), it just slows the whole digestive system down which can lead to excess gas, bloating etc.
2. Increase your digestive juices. Our digestive system is like a well oiled machine, it has many parts that make it run efficiently. When preparing a meal, our eyes see the food and our nose smells the food. This information sends messages to our brain which in turn send messages to our digestive system “hey wake up there is some food going to be coming your way”. This information stimulates the pancreas and stomach to secrete digestive enzymes (the role of digestive juices is to break food down into smaller pieces – making it easier for absorption). If you skip out on the preparing and cooking of food, your body is also missing out on a step in the digestive process.
If you have missed out on those steps you can help the process out by consuming a bitter food before you are about to eat a meal. This can be done by drinking some lemon juice in water or by eating some arugula/rocket (a bitter food).
3. Portion size: Consider the amount of food you eat in one sitting – it’s hard for your body to digest a huge meal, better to make two smaller meals out of it.
Our body can only produce a certain amount of digestive enzymes and HCL – Hydrochloric acid (acidic juices that are found in the stomach that digest protein). Research suggests that the female body produces enough HCL to digest 30g of protein in one meal and that males produce enough HCL to digest 45-60g of protein in one meal. Anything you eat after that the body will struggle to digest. Food is expensive especially protein, no point in eating it if your body isn’t going to be able to digest it and put it to good use.
4. Include rock salt in your diet. Don’t be afraid of rock salt. It’s loaded with minerals – up to 83! Add some to your food. Pink salt should be your main source of salt in your diet. Avoid table salt with iodine (a man in a white coat thought he could make it better, he couldn’t). Stick with what is found naturally in the world.
5. Grow some sprouts at home. They are cheap, rewarding to grow and loaded with nutrients. Most health stores sell packets of seeds to sprout. The idea is that seeds contain the essential nutrients for a plant to grow. If the seeds are sprouted (start them off growing), all the nutritional qualities are activated. If we eat these sprouts these nutrients are then available for us to absorb.
6. Add a green supplement to your diet. Anything that is green eg wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella etc. These green supplements can add extra nutrients to your life really quickly.
7. Opt for organic produce. Don’t buy the prepackaged cookies or chips, spend that extra money on organic produce. Organic foods have be proven to contain higher amounts of nutrients.