1. Add apple cider vinegar.
For acid reflux, bloating, and constipation, try taking 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar, in a small amount of water, 15 minutes before each meal. This gives your body a heads up that its time to eat, and your stomach will start producing all those enzymes and juices you need to break down your food. It’s not all that tasty, but it’s totally worth it.
2. Only eat when you’re sitting down.
This might seem obvious, but how many of us shovel food while we’re running to a meeting, after the kids, or in between chores? When you eat, the only thing you should be doing is eating. And sitting. Nothing else. No TV, no computer, no work. This nudges your body into parasympathic mode, and sends blood to your digestive system to help break down and absorb all those vitamins and nutrients.
3. Chew your food at least 20 times for each bite.
Mechanical breakdown is the first step in digestion, and it’s an important one. Aside from physically starting the breakdown process, saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch even before the food hits your stomach.
4. Don’t jump up for a second helping.
It takes 10 minutes for your stomach to send your brain the message that you’re full, so wait at least 10 minutes before going for seconds. This will prevent you from overeating, a common cause of indigestion, and may even help you shed a few pounds, too.
5. Try tea.
After all of this, if your digestion is still off, try some tea, but be choosy. Peppermint tea can help calm cramping and bloating, but may aggravate reflux. For reflux, try chamomile. Feeling nauseous? Try ginger tea, and add a few slices of fresh ginger for good measure.
6. Do yoga: Hug it out
Well, kind of. Adding a few simple yoga poses to your dining experience can do wonders for digestion. This short series will follow the direction food moves along your colon, giving it a gentle nudge forward. About 15 minutes after eating, lie on your back and hug your right knee into your belly, with your left leg extended to the floor. This massages your ascending colon. Keep hugging your right knee in as you bring your left leg up to meet it. This stimulates the transverse colon. Next, extend the right leg, keeping the left leg in to massage and stimulate your descending colon. Take five deep breaths, in and out of the nose, in each position.
7. Do yoga: Twist it out
Gentle twisting also helps to stimulate the digestive organs and move the process forward. Again, lying on your back, hug both knees in to the belly. On an exhale, let your knees fall over to the left, stimulating the right side of your body. Extend your arms out onto the floor into a T and take your gaze over to the right. Stay here and breathe. Come back to center on an inhale and take a few more deep breaths. On an exhale, let your knees fall to the right and repeat the exercise on this side.
Note: If you’re incorporating yoga into your digestive routine, always compress the right side of the body first, followed by the left, since food and other toxins move through our body from right to left.
Go for a short walk. This gets blood moving, and helps with peristalsis, the wave-like motions of the stomach and intestine that move food along. It also helps to balance your blood sugar.