This Saturday, as part of our Fall Free Class Series, we hosted a Digestive Health & Wellness class led by Master Herbalist, Nathan Searles. Here at Sunflower, we believe that health information should be free and available to all. So, if you weren't able to make it to our class, you can read on for some of the highlights!
Eating and food preparation are hugely important parts of the American holiday tradition, so, as we enter the holiday season, you may find yourself wishing to know a little more about your digestive system.
If you feel that your digestive system is stressed, here are
some dietary steps you can take to recover digestive health:
1. Chew your food well. This may seem silly, but it truly will help with the digestive process. Why? Because the sight, smell, thought, and taste of food each send signals to your brain which prepares the rest of your body for proper digestion. If you take your time chewing, you will produce more digestive fluids and the smaller your food is when you swallow, the more exposure to those digestive fluids your food will have.
2. Drink lots of water. Water is vital for all organs to function, especially those in the digestive system. They will not be able to work their best if you are not well-hydrated. Water also acts as a transporter for many digestive substances and activates certain enzymes to improve digestion.
3. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Whole foods grow with a complex variety of complimentary nutrients so your body will know how to easily digest them. Processed foods, which have been created by humans (rather than nature), lack a proper balance of nutrients and/or fiber. Because of this, it will be much easier to overeat when consuming processed foods seeing as the body is craving the nutrients that the food lacks. Be especially wary of artificial food additives such as artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colorings. An easy way to avoid processed foods is to try to eat only things that are not packaged - fruits, vegetables, etc.
4. Eat more vegetables. The average American diet relies heavily on animal protein and comes up short on vegetables. Although you will get plenty of protein and fats when you eat meat, the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that exist in vegetables are crucial for you to digest your protein and fats.
5. Eat smaller meals. It's easy to overindulge, especially during the holidays. Remember to eat when you're hungry and stop eating BEFORE you feel full. Extra bulk in the stomach can aggravate acid reflux and heartburn. When you eat in moderation, your body will thank you (and so will your waist line). Remember you can always go back a few hours later and have a second plate encore. Who doesn't love leftovers?
6. Avoid tobacco. Crohn's Disease and gallstones have been observed more often amongst smokers than non-smokers. Smoking also reduces the body's utilization of certain nutrients.
Think you need a little extra digestive help? Try any of these:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
| - Fennel
- Dandelion (leaf or root)
- Yellow Dock
- Licorice Root
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
Thanks so much for reading along with us! If you'd like to catch our next class (Women's Health - Saturday, November 16th, 10 am - Noon), please sign up by calling 524-6334 or emailing your name and number to Julia(at)SunflowerNH(dot)com. You can also view the rest of our class and event schedule by clicking here. We hope to see you soon!
Health & happiness,
P.s. Thanks to Nathan Searles, M.H. for preparing and hosting the class! Find out more about him by visiting his website.
* Post by Julia Marchand