Digestion challenges - symptoms and suggestions


Last week’s blog touched on eating certain foods together in order to help support digestion.  I wanted to give more ideas on ways to strengthen digestion, if it is weak, or you are finding you are not digesting well or have digestive pain.


There are a number of signs that can indicate digestion is not happening as it should.  First and foremost, if you see undigested food in your bowel movements, that is a huge sign.  Waste should not look like food.  Well, corn can somewhat show up, but that is about it.


Next is if you feel pain or fulness up in the higher area stomach area, this can possibly indicate a slow or problematic digestion.  In addition, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, sleep issues, foggy brain, skin irritation, autoimmune conditions, food intolerances plus other uncomfortable  challenges can show up. Bloating and gas can also be caused by poor digestion.  


So, what can a person do?


First is CHEW.  Food is best broken down mechanically in your mouth by chewing.  Chewing makes food into a paste which make digestive juices in the stomach easier to access.  Chewing also stimulates saliva in the mouth, which has amylase, a carbohydrate (sugar) enzyme.  Chewing also stimulates digestive juices in your stomach.  This is key when you drink smoothies, juices, and protein shakes where you may not be chewing when you drink them.  Those are high nutrient and calorie liquids and chewing needs to happen in order for the full process of digestion to take place and make the best use of those nutrients and calories.


Other suggestions are:

  • Have a half fresh squeezed lemon in 1/4 cup of water 10 minutes before meals to help stimulate digestion as well as support the liver.
  • Also a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before eating is good for stimulating digestion and adding beneficial bacteria.  Gut bacteria can be critical to digestion and immune health as well as other body system support.
  • Limit most other liquids at meals to not dilute digestive juices in the stomach.  
  • Eating slow and keeping meals and snacks at least 3 hours apart in order to ensure meals have enough time to fully digest and digestive organs get a chance to rest in between foods.
  • Time eating for when you can relax and digest and give eating your full attention
  • Eating when stressed can cause digestion to not work well.  
  • Not overeating by being mindful as you eat.   Not being distracted by TV, social media, driving, etc, can also be helpful in supporting digestion.  We tend to overeat when we do not pay attention while eating.
  • Giving yourself lots of time for eating and resting after to help your body do its job.
  • The process cooking and smelling food gets your senses stoked up and your digestive system prepped for food.  Eating foods that are ready to go ends up missing that lead up to eating and digestion.


If you find something that seems to help, keep on it.  It may take a few weeks for something like the additional fermented foods or lemon water to start to create a noticeable change, so give it some time.  Even if you feel less full, or less of some symptom, you can likely tell that you are heading down the right path.


Don’t let weak digestion trick you into thinking you have no choice.  There is often something that can be done to be of help.  I often hear people say that this is “just the way they are” or “it’s not a big problem” or "nothing can be done”, and so no.


It’s so important to recognize the important of this process in our bodies as it truly is how we break down nutrients from our foods in order to build and repair our bodies.  If we don’t get food down into their smallest format, it can’t be absorbed and used by our bodies.


Whole foods with fibre are the common 


It’s worth the effort to figure out how to help digestion work best in your body.  Again if issues persist, make sure to see your health care practitioner.


Have a great week,





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