For many of us digestive discomfort has become a way of life. When your digestive system is off, your health can suffer in all sorts of ways. If unaddressed, these symptoms can manifest into chronic health conditions. Making a few simple changes can help your digestive system run much more efficiently and smoothly and who doesn’t want that?!
I know it may seem ridiculous to remind you to chew but chewing is the first step in proper digestion. I am a horrible chewer. I remember my roommate in college constantly reminding me to chew and I still need to remind myself! Chewing is such an unconscious habit. You put food in your mouth chew a couple times and swallow and if you are anything like me you do this way too fast!
Digestion begins in the mouth (although some might argue digestion begins in the mind, but that’s another article) with the release of digestive enzymes. Chewing each bite 20 times or until it starts to become liquid in the mouth makes it much easier for your body to digest and for the nutrients to be more readily absorbed. When you take the time to properly chew it forces you to slow down and maybe you will even enjoy your food more!
If the power of the digestive system is weak you will have a hard time digesting food. You need to tend to your digestive fire and the easiest way to do that is through the use of spices. Spices have the power to transform and support your digestion and help you break down food so you can assimilate more nutrients, just like enzymes. Your spice cabinet is literally overflowing with herbs that support you in digesting your food so use them!
Put powdered herbs in in shakers for sprinkling on your food. Do a ‘spice lick’ where you put ¼ tsp of herbs on a spoon and lick it 5-10 minutes before a meal to get your digestive juices flowing like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger or fennel. (Probably best not to use herbs like cayenne!) And be sure to cook with plenty of herbs! A good trick when you are out to dinner is to ask for hot water with lemon and then sprinkle some black pepper into the water and sip on it while you wait for your food to arrive.
Drink CCF Tea
CCF stands for Cumin, Coriander and Fennel. Drinking this three seed blend is helpful for just about every digestive disorder like constipation, heartburn, gas, fatigue after eating and bloating. It soothes inflammation, helps with protein digestion, encourages the absorption and assimilation of nutrients, and can train your pancreas to produce more of its own enzymes. CCF tea also supports the body’s natural detoxification process.
There are lots of recipes and ways to make the tea. I combine equal parts cumin, coriander and fennel seeds and store them in a jar. Then when I am ready to make the tea, I use about 1 heaping teaspoon of the mix per cup of water. Bring the water and the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Sip before, during or after a meal. I often make 2 cups of tea in the morning and put it in a thermos or insulated mug so I can drink it throughout the day.
Ghee is a butter superfood. It has all the moisture, milk solids and impurities removed leaving just an easily digestible fat. Ghee has a very high concentration of butyric acid which supports the health and healing of cells in both the small and large intestine. It is the #1 food for all those good microbes in the intestinal tract so it will aid digestion, calm inflammation and improve the overall health of the intestinal tract. Studies have shown consuming ghee to be beneficial for leaky gut, irritable bowel and Crohn’s. It is also has shown potential in fighting cancer, especially in the colon.
I love Ghee and use it in cooking as well as in place of butter or other oils on my food. My personal favorite brand is Ancient Organics but there are plenty of other options to choose from.
One last suggestion to improve your digestion. Be grateful and listen to your body. (Okay that was two!)