Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are 6 small changes you can make to your diet to support good digestion and a healthy immune system.
Switch To Room Temperature Water
It’s actually better for your digestion to drink water that’s closer in temperature to what you’re eating, and warm means your body is spending less energy on warming it up. If you want to do a little more (and compensate for taste—cold water is easier to drink for a lot of people because you don’t taste it) add a squeeze of lemon for flavor. If you add a whole wedge, it may even help to absorb chlorine from the water.
Salt Each Serving To Taste
When you cook at home, don’t pour salt into the dish as you’re cooking it (or do so minimally). Wait and let each person salt their own plate.
While I don’t believe salt is evil, many (even most) people eat way too much of it (do you eat out regularly? Eat a lot of pre-made food? Then I’m talking about you!) There’s a couple easy solutions:
Let people salt home-cooked meals according to their own preference. Not everyone needs a ton of salt, and even those who do may get used to a smaller amount when they’re measuring it themselves (plus, there are those who add salt as habit, without regard for the starting taste of the food).
When you’re eating out, don’t add salt. Cheaper restaurants are already adding a lot (because salt + sugar + fat is a recipe to ensure everyone likes everything) and nice restaurants aim to serve food that’s already appropriately seasoned.
If you still think you need it, consider losing a few pounds. People at a healthy weight (especially after losing weight) report food tasting better than people at a higher weight.
Wait At Least Two Hours Before Going To Bed
Give yourself time to digest. Going to bed with a full stomach or even just a heavy snack means that your body (and your heart especially!) will be responsible for digesting that food when it’s supposed to be resting.
Your body already has a lot of repair and rejuvenation it’s responsible for while you sleep—asking it to multitask means you’re stretching it a bit thin.
—And Have Good Posture
While you eat, and while you digest, sit up. Hold your neck straight. You should be doing that anyway, but especially when eating. Give you guts room to work by holding your body up straight.
Remember grandma telling you to chew your food? Maybe they even quoted what was a popular study two decades ago and said you need to chew 26 times at least.
They were mostly right—chewing is absolutely the first step in digestion, and will ease things for your stomach. And drinking lots of water (see above)? Not only washes things down but helps your body to produce more saliva, also helping digestion and protecting your teeth!
Go Slow—At Least Between Courses
Avoid overeating by eating slowly or leaving time to chat between courses. There’s a bit of a lag (about twenty minutes) between your stomach and your brain, so if you’re starting out hungry, you’ll still think you feel that way even when your body has been sated.
And when you eat slow, there’s a better chance of room for dessert.
What are your tricks to healthy eating?