Have you ever thought about how crucial your digestive health is to every other system in your body? It’s amazing! Your digestive system literally transforms the foods you eat into fuel by breaking them down and extracting the nutrients that the rest of your body needs to function. It also contains bacteria, or gut flora, that science has recently revealed to be critical in not only our physical wellbeing, but our mental health too.
Eating whole foods that benefit our digestive health ultimately benefits our whole body. For example, the calcium found in seeds and leafy greens creates strong bones. Flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids that support heart health. To benefit your vision, eat foods rich in vitamin A like sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots. There’s no question about it: nourishing foods are fundamental to overall good health.
As we head into the Fall season, it's especially important to re-think and adjust our eating habits. So here are some essential tips to keep your digestion strong:
- Incorporate food sources of probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are living bacteria that support a healthy gut flora. You can buy them in the form of pills, but it’s also easy and affordable to add fermented, probiotic-rich foods to your daily diet. Try topping crackers with mashed avocado and raw, organic sauerkraut. Healthline reports that 1 gram of sauerkraut may contain 1,000–100 million colony-forming units (CFUs) of probiotics.
- Make sure you’re eating plenty of prebiotics, too. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that probiotics feed on. If you’re incorporating probiotics into your diet, prebiotics will help them do their job much more effectively! Good sources of prebiotics include onions, garlic, chicory, oats, almonds and lentils.
- Try digestive bitters. These are bitter herbs that are great for strong digestion and the absorption of nutrients too. At Nüssli118°, we are working on a new Superfood Blend that will make it easy to incorporate dandelion, burdock root, and chicory into your diet - all great bitters!
- Drink plenty of water. The benefits of water, whether from a cool glass or a fresh cucumber, are numerous. For more energy, a better complexion and a sharp mind - hydrate!
- Eat when you are relaxed. Good digestion happens when your parasympathetic nervous system is engaged for rest and digestion. Always opt for a sit-down meal rather than grabbing something on the run. It also helps to set aside ample time for meal preparation, so that you’re not starving or rushing to get it done. Take three deep breaths when you sit down to your food, and then chew each bite 30 times if you can! Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing.
After an active summer filled with travel, fun, friends and late night meals, it's important to take some time to refocus and reset daily habits for a strong body and healthy gut. I hope these tips help you move forward into the new season with renewed energy!