Gut Check – 5 ways to get the most from your meals

If you want to get anything out of the food you’re eating you need to digest it properly.

Take a whiff – Digestion starts in your brain when you think about food before you even begin eating. Give the process a jump start by taking a moment to smell and think about what it is you’re going to eat.

Sit down, be calm – Take some time for your meals. Yes occasionally we all have to eat on the run, but digestion only works well when you’re in a parasympathetic or relaxed state. Stress shuts down digestion.

Chew well – Most of us are so busy we only allow ourselves to chew our food enough so as not to choke. Here’s your new rule: 25-30 chews per bite. Spend some time breaking down the food in your mouth and save your stomach some work.

Mechanically breaking down your food by chewing it well creates smaller particles which are easier to digest. Thorough chewing also encourages you to secrete saliva, and saliva coats your food with the enzymes amylase and lipase. These enzymes begin to digest fats and starches right in your mouth.

Protip: Try putting your fork down between each bite. This habit will help you maintain a reasonable pace

Ten shades – The people that eat a wider variety of foods are the health

iest. Try to eat fruits and vegetables that are ten different shades daily. This ten shades rule will help ensure you’re getting a broad spectrum of micronutrients.

Hold the water – Yes hydration is important, but let’s take a break from drinking anything 15 minutes before and after a meal. Fluid intake close to mealtime dilutes stomach acid and slows digestion.

One last tip: You’ll know that you on the right track with your digestion if you experience a pleasant warm feeling in your abdomen mid-meal.

Want to learn more: read out How to eat – The Basics

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