Did you know digestion takes up 50% of our energy?
No wonder we feel so sluggish after a big meal. Digestion is one of the most important factors in our health, considering its how we process everything we eat. But it doesn’t have to take up all of our much needed energy… if we pay more attention to how we eat food, we can digest food much easier, and all that energy will go towards beautifying jobs like growing hair and nails, pumping collagen, and metabolizing.
For those of you who don’t know, we digest food in the order we eat it. I used to think that it somehow all got mixed up down there but its pretty orderly; our bodies are insane machines that work in a precise manner. Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution opened my eyes to this concept of digesting for the first time, I couldn’t believe I had never learned it before, it seems like common sense! Today I’m sharing three simple tricks that you can use every day to improve your digestion and ultimately improve your health and energy.
1. Eat fruit first and in the morning
Did you know that fruit digests in about 30 minutes!? It moves quicker through our digestive systems than any other type of food. Loaded with fiber, fruit acts like a fast cleaning crew scrubbing your body clean of toxins. So if you have fruit on your plate, eat it first before any other food group, this ensures that your body can absorb optimal amounts of nutrients and enzymes from the fruit, and it can do its cleaning job more easily.
More importantly, don’t eat fruit after you’ve eaten a big meal of heavier food, because it will just sit on top of the heavier food that takes longer to digest and can actually begin to ferment in your system and create toxins, leading to gas, bloating, discomfort and even weight gain. It’s best to eat fruit in the morning or on an empty stomach. I also wouldn’t recommend eating fruit as a dessert, wait at least two hours after you’ve eaten or try dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao!
2. Eat greens before your meal & choose the darkest
Just like above, you want to eat greens before your main entree; greens digest faster than our heavy entrees like meat or potatoes. For example, eating a side salad as an appetizer or snacking on celery before your main meal is one of the simplest ways to improve your digestion. More importantly, eating enzyme-rich vegetables before your meal will help give you more enzymes to help digest food. Obviously, we don’t absorb food, we absorb nutrients, and enzymes are responsible for breaking down our food into protein, carbs, fat, etc. so we can absorb the nutrients.
While our bodies produce enzymes, they may only be able to break down and extract about 40-50% of our food’s true nutrient value. And by the time we’re 50, we’ll produce around half of what we did when we were younger. Raw veggies are the most enzyme dense foods, so make sure you eat them before your meals! Also, choose the darkest greens for more nutrients… opt for Spinach and Romaine over Iceburg. Romaine lettuce has almost twice the nutritional value of Iceburg lettuce, which is 96% water!
3. Don’t drink while you eat
It’s obviously extremely important to drink water throughout the day (aim for half your body weight it ounces, so if you weigh 140, drink 70 oz’s). However, drinking a lot of water while eating can dilute digestive juices and acid making it hard to digest food. Think of it as a big swamp in your stomach. Water molecules can also get trapped in the food which can make you bloat and lead to post-meal discomfort. Try to drink a lot of water 30 minutes before you meal (which can help you feel fuller) and an hour after. Avoid guzzling down water during your meals, but sipping is fine as needed.