1) Add herbs and spices to meals
Spices and herbs are often an underestimated tool to promote digestion. An example I like to use is the pairing of rosemary with meats like lamb, chicken or steak. It is common to add rosemary, thyme and lemon to these meats and has been done for thousands of years. This is because protein and fat are much slower to digest than carbohydrates. It is a natural digestant and antioxidant herb. Rosemary also naturally reduces C-RP which is an inflammatory indicator.
Some other common spices are caraway seeds, cardamom, lemon, ginger, garlic and fennel. A helpful tip is to chew on a few fennel seeds after a meal. Drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning is a wonderful way to stimulate natural digestion and help with constipation. Instead of adding salt to meals, experiment with some different herbs! Or try them as a tea. You will be surprised how healing they can be with consistency.
2) Sleep on your left side
Sleeping on your left side allows gravity to move waste from your small intestine to your colon. It also prevents acid reflux from occurring. The stomach acid and juices get pushed down instead of upwards when laying on the left side.
3) Deep breathing before and after eating
Diaphragmatic deep belly breathing allows the abdominal wall to relax and promote digestion, significantly helping with bloating, pain and constipation. There is extensive research on people who practice deep breathing and meditate regularly have less digestive and overall health imbalances. Deep breathing also slows down the sympathetic nervous system, allowing cortisol levels to drop and regulate the vagus nerve which plays a huge role in digestion.
Always make sure you are breathing from your belly, not your chest. You can take 3 deep belly right before and after your meal. Always exhale longer than your inhale.
4) Chew food thoroughly
Digestion always begins in the mouth, particularly with carbs and starches. When we don’t thoroughly chew our food, our body has to work harder to break it down. Our pancreas and liver produce enzymes necessary to break down food in the form that it is after chewing. If we do not chew, it can take much longer to digest, creating backup - therefore bloating and constipation.
A practice that can be helpful is enjoying the taste of food. Noticing its textures. Putting your phone down when eating. Don’t watch tv while eating. Eliminate all distractions. Mindful eating goes a long way in healthy digestion.