How to Improve Digestion with Mindful Eating Habits

Introduction To Mindful Eating

mindful eating

Not eating mindfully may make you experience digestive upset whose signs are Gas, bloating, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, and unpleasant bowel movements. Nutritionists report that up to 92% of their clients suffer from occasional digestive issues. luckily, however, there are simple tricks you can use to ease the digestive process from start to finish. Read on to learn about how to improve digestion and the role of mindful eating.

Causes of Indigestion

improve digestion with mindful eating

When a person suffers from digestive upset, the first question nutritionists ask after “what are you eating?” is “How much are you chewing?”. On average humans chew 3-5 times before swallowing. Chewing properly is majorly important to improve digestion. When you think about it, chewing (mastication) is the very first step in digestion.

You know it when you feel it in your belly: that full, uncomfortable feeling during or/and after a meal. You might also have burning pain with it in the upper part of your stomach, too. It’s indigestion, also known as dyspepsia.

Indigestion — also called an upset stomach — is a general term that describes discomfiture in your upper abdomen. Indigestion happens to the majority of people. Eating habits or chronic digestive problems can trigger indigestion.

Some causes of indigestion are

Indigestion is something which results from overeating or eating too fast. 

Spicy, greasy, and fatty foods also increase the risk of bloating and indigestion. 

Lying down too soon after eating can make it harder for the food to be digested. This increases your risk of abdominal discomfort.

Other common causes of indigestion include:

  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • side effects of medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, also thyroid medications are classes of medications which can increase the risk of indigestion.

Eating habits and lifestyle choices can also cause indigestion. Symptoms of indigestion can also be caused by other severe causes like:

  • acid reflux disease
  • People with gastric cancer
  • pancreatic or bile duct abnormalities in people 
  • Many women suffer from indigestion during the middle and later parts of pregnancy. The problem might come from pituitary hormones, which relax the muscles of the digestive tract, and from the pressure, the growing baby puts on the stomach.

mindful eating

Tips to Improve Digestion: 

When you are sitting down to eat, turn off ALL electronics: computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. (or at least have them on silent and out of sight)

Taking a moment here and there, express gratitude for your food 

Smell your food

Then chew slowly 30 times, take a few deep inhales while you are chewing, even close your eyes for a moment to really focus on taste

Put down the fork between bites to savour the experience

If this all sounds a little too far fetched for you, I get it. Just try steps 1 and 5: chew your food well and eliminate all sorts of distractions. If you really want a challenge, try chewing 100-200 times per bite as it is recommended in some macrobiotic schools of thought.

Do a mindful eating exercise. Start with having each person take a bite and chew it 3-5 times, then without swallowing hold the food in their mouth and feel how big those chunks are! dare to give it a try. You’ll notice just how rushed you are at each meal and how much harder you are forcing your body to work by not chewing properly.

The interesting part about mindfulness is that it must always be intentional. If we all had to be mindful in our breathing (rather than it being an automatic action) many of us wouldn’t last very long!

Remember, like with any skill, mindful eating is a practice. Make the best effort that you can to eat mindfully at each meal, and if you are someone that deals with digestive upset, note whether this makes a difference for you.

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