Digestion and digestive disorders are big business lately.  Seems like you can’t toss a stone without hearing about somebody with inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease.  There are many reasons why this is happening too.  Everything from stress to genetically modified foods can potentially be causes for all the gastrointestinal upset.  So let’s look at some ways to improve your digestive health naturally.

Eat real foods.  This means you need to ditch the processed foods, including the candy bars and cookies.  Instead, snack on wholesome organic foods like almonds, raw vegetables and fruits.  There’s nothing wrong with having a treat here and there, but we as a society have become too dependent on having cheap, fast, prepared foods.  And sometimes that’s all we eat.  Processed foods are hard for the body to digest and most of the time, they have no nutritional value anyway.  If you want your digestion to improve, you have to cut back on the fake stuff.

Stress less.  Yes, too much stress can affect your digestion.  Studies have proven it to be so time and time again.  So learn how to de-stress.  Do some meditation.  Try some coloring.  Listen to some music.  Read a book.  Or even try some deep breathing exercises.  Deep breathing is quite calming and once the stress has left the building, the gastrointestinal upset may as well.

Support your liver.  The liver is the detox center of the body.  So if you’re eating lots of processed, genetically modified, chemical-laden foods your digestive system will tell you and your liver will be the organ that gets hurt the most.  Add things like milk thistle to your daily diet and also bitter herbs like dandelion root.  These two items are wonderful for helping the liver detox, thus performing better in aiding your digestion.

Stay hydrated.  Drinking too little water wreaks havoc on the digestive system.  When you don’t drink enough water, you may become constipated because the stool in the intestines is too dry and hard to pass.  This can become serious if not quickly addressed.  So be sure to take water with you wherever you go.

Get active.  Exercising and being active speeds up digestion, increases blood flow to all of the organs and stimulates muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.  A minimum of 30 minutes per day is usually sufficient to keep things regular.  And this can be as simple as a walk after lunch or dinner.

Take your time.  When you sit down to a meal, do you feel like you have to rush and shovel everything in as quickly as possible?  If so, you’re potentially wrecking your digestive system.  When you eat too quickly, your brain has to play catch up.  So you can actually eat too much before your brain gets the signal that you’re full.  Then you feel bloated for the rest of the day.  Also try not to eat in front of the television, as studies have shown that we actually tend to eat more if we are not paying attention to our meal.

Lastly, get some acupuncture or apply acupressure to certain points.  There are numerous acupuncture points on the body that can help with digestion.  Two of my favorites are located on the stomach energetic meridian, stomach 25 and stomach 36.  Stomach 25 is level with the belly button and approximately 2 thumb-widths from the middle of the umbilicus.  This point is found on both sides of the belly button, so you can use them together or one at a time.  The other point, stomach 36, is located on the lower leg when it is flexed.  The point is on the lateral or outside of the leg about 3 finger breadths from the lower edge of the kneecap, in between the heads of the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones).  Both of these points help with digestion and in particular with increasing blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract.

When it comes to digestion, even the smallest of things can cause it to be out of whack.  But if you know what triggers your digestive problems, then you can also avoid those things and hopefully avoid digestive problems altogether.  And if it seems to be an ongoing battle, schedule an appointment.  Acupuncture can help regulate stress and digestion, which will help you get and stay healthy.

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