While there is not much you can do about the way your body digests foods, you are able to improve the speed and even quality of your digestive process. Faster digestion means you will feel lighter sooner, be less sluggish and lower your chances of suffering from heartburn and indigestion.
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Eat slowly. Chew your food properly. If your food is properly chewed by the time you swallow it, your body will not have to work so hard to break it down and process it. Eating several small meals during the day instead of only two or three large ones can also reduce the burden on your body and speed up digestion.
Eat in a calm, relaxed environment. Adrenaline, which is produced by your body when you are under stress, slows down the flow of blood to the stomach, relaxing the muscles and intestines and causing digestion to become sluggish. Avoid eating large meals when you are under extreme stress. Instead, have a small snack or find a way to relax before you sit down to eat.
Eat more natural foods. Fruits and vegetables will be digested more quickly and push the process along, while red meat will slow down digestion. Keep this in mind especially at night, when you are more likely to be sedentary.
Add insoluble fiber to meals. Insoluble fiber moves food thorough your digestive system, helping keep you regular and preventing constipation. Foods high in this type of fiber include whole-grain breads, brown rice, carrots, green leafy vegetables and apples consumed with their peels.
Go for a walk after your meal. Heavy exercise can make you nauseated right after eating, but a stroll can speed up digestion. When your body moves, digestion speeds up. A 10-minute walk will do the trick; you do not need to move too quickly or spend too much energy.
Drink plenty of liquids. Soft watery foods speed up digestion. This is true whether you add the liquids to your regular meals (eating more soups and purees), or simply replace your regular solid meals with something liquid. Have a cup of green tea or drink water with your meals to help with digestion.