1. Lemon juice
The first top tip to help digestion, is every morning before breakfast, freshly squeeze the juice of 1 – 2 lemons in 250ml – 500ml of spring or filtered water. This small but effective daily routine will help to cleanse the stomach of left over ‘debris’ and remove any excess acid.
Lemon juice is a great natural remedy for overall health as being a food leading to better digestion. So use this valuable digestive tip and get up every morning to a refreshing drink of lemon juice in water. If you like – have it warm by all means.
2. Apple cider vinegar
There is another daily drink taken late morning or sometime before lunch to complement the lemon juice drink: and that is one containing Cider Vinegar – a great natural aid to help digestion.
Take 1 tsp – 1 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar and mix it with 250ml – 500ml apple juice (freshly squeezed is even better).
This drink will balance digestive juices, specifically low or high levels of Hydrochloric acid (HCL). This is a great tip for better digestion; take it every day for best effect. May people have reported great benefits from apply cider vinegar and apple juice.
If you cannot get organic apple cider vinegar, use what you can get.
3. Avoid cold drinks for better digestion
Avoid cold drinks while eating – this slows down digestion. This is a great tip for digestion which is easily implemented.
Food is digested more efficiently at around body temperature, therefore cold fluid can slow down the digestive processes.
If you must drink while eating, try hot water or herbal teas. Caffeine can cause excess production of stomach acid so should be avoided, as should alcohol.
But the main tip here is the help your digestion by avoiding cold drinks while eating.
4. Swedish bitters
Have you ever heard of Swedish Bitters? These can usually be obtained from good health food stores around the UK as well as in Europe.
The taste of bitter herbs, foods, juices etc, 20 – 30mins before eating will increase digestive function by encouraging the release of digestive enzymes, juices and acids.
Bitter foods can have the effect of helping digestion. For example, European chicory leaves have this effect as do dandelion leaves – which are safe to add to a salad. Use the younger leaves and they are a delicious – and slightly bitter – salad additive. The older leaves are too bitter for most people.
5. Use massage to help digestion
Specific self massage and exercise techniques used as part of a daily routine will also contribute to better digestion.
‘LIVER EXERCISE’ – This exercise massages the Liver and Gall Bladder, tonifying and cleansing these organs, helping digestion. It helps cope with abdominal wind, and assists digestion.
Place the heel of the right hand on the right side of the body under the rib cage, and just above the hip bone. The fingers should point straight across the body.
Pressing firmly, move the hand slowly across the body to the middle of the abdomen; you should end up with the heel of the hand over the navel. Repeat this action 10-20 times.
This is a great tip to increase the efficacy of the liver.
Food can help digestion: but, assuming you are not eating junk food, is often really more how you eat those foods that can affect you more.
Anyway, on to the next exercise:
The ‘STOMACH EXERCISE’ – This exercise is similar to the Liver Exercise mentioned earlier, but is applied to the other side of the body.
This great tip benefits the digestion, the Spleen, and the Pancreas, as well as the Stomach.
Method: Place the heel of the left hand between the rib cage and the left hip, with the fingers pointing across the body. Move the hand firmly and smoothly across to the centre of the body, until it is over the navel.
Repeat this self-massage 10-20 times, and do it daily once or twice.
Over the course of a few weeks, many people find that this massage will help their digestion to settle down nicely.
6. Fasting to help the digestion
Actually avoiding food is one way to help the digestion! Short term fasting is one way to allow the digestive system a well deserved rest.
If you are new to fasting, try it initially for just 24hrs.
Remember always to drink plenty of vegetable and fruit juice during your fast – and favour vegetable juice because of its lower sugar content. If you must eat food at this time, then food which will help your digestion will be salads.
Plan your fasting for days when you will not be doing lots of hard physical work and can take plenty of rest. You will be a little tireder when fasting, so don’t do it when you know you will have demands on you physically.
7. Chewing your food is a great digestive aid
CHEW, CHEW, CHEW… One of the most important mechanisms of digestion, yet more often than not, the most forgotten!
The whole idea of chewing is to help your digestion by reducing the size of food particles and maximising the surface area for the digestive juices to act on.
If you are the sort of person who “bolts” your food, it is a great digestive tip for you to focus on chewing your food much, much better.
Chewing not only physically breaks down foods, but also it signals the other digestive organs to secrete their digestive juices (pancreatic enzymes, stomach acids etc) in order to prepare for the incoming food.
So chewing is a vitally important part of digestion. If you get indigestion it may simply be a matter of you not chewing your food enough.
Naturopaths believe that you help your digestion the most by chewing your food until it is near to a liquid consistency before swallowing it. Chewing your food well simply give you better digestion.
8. Food combining helps digestion
Before we get to herbs for digestion, let’s touch on ‘Food Combining’ which can work well for many people.
Food combining is the method of separating starch and protein into separate meals. So, for example, you don’t eat potatoes with meat: or bread with chicken.
Food combining involves the 3 main types of food/fuel that is, carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta), protein (meats, dairy, nuts, soya) and fat (cooking oils, avocados, butter, animal fat).
It is considered that one should not mix these types of food within one particular meal. For example, you would eat either protein – meat or eggs – with salads and vegetables, or starchy food – potatoes or bread with salads and vegetables: but not protein and starch at the same meal.
Many have benefited from this approach – some people benefit immediately. I suggest you consider it yourself.
Here are some books I recommend.
9. Colon cleansing & liver cleansing through the use of herbs, foods and supplements will help the whole digestive system greatly.
There are many companies and practitioners (Naturopathic) who recommend their own cleansing routines and you will find that many elements of the various routines will be similar. If you find a good one, stick with that – especially if you have the personal help of a practitioner too.
Otherwise, find a good mail-order supplier and preferably one who offers free unlimited advice to customers as part of their service.
A major indication that colon cleansing will help you generally and may help digestion in the stomach too is if you have constipation.
Though doctors will sometimes say that a bowel movement every day, every two days or even every three days is normal, it is not healthy. To maintain a healthy flow of waste out of the body, you should expect to have a bowel movement about as many times as you eat – for most people, 2-3 times a day. Any less than that and this colon cleansing is a good idea.
There are various indications that Liver Cleansing with digestive herbs may help your digestion. A strong indication of poor liver function is a difficulty with digesting fatty foods. If your digestion is worse when you eats fats, or if it makes you feel “queasy” or nauseous, then help for the liver is definitely called for. Digestive herbs can be a great help here the liver usually responds to liver herbal treatment.
Either use a full three months liver programme of herbs, which includes three liver and digestive herbal formulations, or just one appropriate formula of liver herbs to help the digestion taken for, say, 3-4 months.
Indeed, naturopaths (and herbalists) find that the colon and liver are the two organs which benefit from natural treatment for more people than any other organs. Many naturopaths, including those trained in the mould of icons of naturopathy such as Dr John Christopher out of Utah, and Dr Bernard Jensen from Escondido, California, will recommend colon cleansing and liver cleansing almost as a matter of course.
The digestive herbs used for these two purposes will certainly boost natural detox in the body. This benefits every part of the body by helping the body remove toxins which otherwise slow down every organ and every body function.
For a lot of people if the bowel and the liver are working well the rest of the digestion will follow suit. So consider using the digestive herbs I have recommended to help these important organs.
10. Other herbs to help digestion
Now I move on to digestive herbs that act more directly on the stomach and small intestine. For example, the herbs below are known to help your digestion when you have excess digestive acid and other juices in conditions such as hiatus hernia and stomach ulcers and acid reflux.
A great digestive herbal tea can be made by combining the excellent herbs Meadowsweet, Fennel, Comfrey and Peppermint. This can be drunk two or three times every day with benefit and is quite tasty.
Slippery Elm Tea is one of the very best herbs to help digestion. It has a consistency like very thin porridge. It is blended with water and sipped hot or warm.
Slippery Elm is a fantastic herb to soothe the digestion, especially for the bowel if there is IBS or Colitis. It is very glutinous and just soothes the whole digestive tract – throat, stomach, and intestines – as it passes through.
Slippery Elm is also available in capsules as Slippery Elm Capsules, if you prefer to take capsules rather than drinking the “tea”.
Bayberry and Wild Yam can also be used in drops (tincture or fluid extract) or as capsules or tablets.
These digestive herbs will help to soothe and heal an ulcerated or ‘colicky’ type of condition. Wild Yam is a great antispasmodic – it relaxes muscles in spasm. It is particularly helpful for the liver and also the bowel. It is also used by women to relax the uterus which can relieve pain during periods or menopause. Because of its anti-spasmodic properties it is one herb which may help digestion.
Licorice Tea can be made in the same way as Ginger Tea: simmer a dessertspoon or more of either in 10 fluid ounces (a mugful) of water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink. You will need to buy the licorice tea.
Cardamom, Cloves, Fennel, Ginger and Cinnamon can all be made into a tea to be drunk after a meal, because they all help the digestion.
Simply place some seeds in half a pint or so of water in a non-aluminium pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and let simmer for a few minutes. Strain and drink. If using fresh ginger, cut a few slices (a few mm thick) and do the same.
Note: If taking or thinking about taking tablets, remember to check the ingredients carefully. It is more often than not that certain additives, even talc can be added in order for the ingredients to bind!
Foods such as Lemons, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Onion, Leek, Rice, Root Vegetables, Papaya, Pineapple and Artichokes can all aid proper digestion. Try to include some of these foods into your general daily diet.
Use some of the methods given above and see what works for you. Than make those habits!
You can certainly use digestive herbs and other methods given here to help your digestion successfully.
So make them part of your daily activities: and HAPPY DIGESTING!