Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to all aspects of your food and the process of eating. It helps to reduce stress and take you out of ‘flight or fight’ mode, which for most us is our auto-pilot. When in this state our body is preparing to react to dangerous situations. The blood goes to our important organs ready for action so digestion isn’t prioritised. When in ‘rest and digest’ mode your body can focus on digestion and absorption.
Chewing is really important. It is where digestion really starts. This is because amylase, a digestive enzyme, is produced in your mouth and starts the digestion of carbohydrates. Another reason is that your teeth break down food into smaller pieces so that the enzymes in your digestive tract are better able to break it down. Poor chewing can result in digestive problems such as indigestion and bloating. It can also indirectly lead to weight gain, as you do not allow sufficient time for your brain to register that you are full. Poor chewing has been linked to decreased nutrient absorption.
Take 3 deep breaths before eating to activate the vagus nerve to ‘rest and digest’
Intuitively eat – remove distractions, focus on each mouthful so the brain is fully engaged and signaling efficient.
You are not what you eat. You are what you digest and absorb…
Here, I’ve listed my favourite ways to support and heal your digestion and gut:
Chew well: The first step in the digestion process is chewing our food properly. When we chew our food, our saliva coats the food and sends signals to the brain to prepare for the digestive process. Once the food enters the stomach, hydrochloric acid and enzymes work to break it down into small particles, which travel to the small intestine and allow the nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Enjoy probiotic-rich foods:
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and kefir, all are great for the gut and reduce inflammation, support digestion and enhance metabolism.

Optimise digestive enzymes:
Having good amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps to break down food, thereby aiding digestion. I recommend sipping on two litres of water with a dash of apple cider vinegar throughout the day.

Keep a 20-minute gap between eating and drinking:
When you drink just before eating, it dilutes the gastric juices and inhibits proper absorption.

Maintain a range of healthy bacteria:
Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help you to process your food, produce nutrients and fight disease. Take a good probioic and focus on your wholefoods!

Go extra:
If you feel the need for some extra support herbs that may aid digestive health include fennel, ginger, peppermint, dandelion root, gentian root, slippery elm, licorice root, meadowsweet, aloe vera, calendula, marshmallow root, golden seal, St Mary’s thistle. It also maybe beneficial to try digestive bitters or digestive enyzmes before a meal.

Eat foods rich in prebiotics:
Prebiotics help to boost the growth of friendly bacteria. These include food substances rich in soluble fibres found in asparagus, bananas, endive, chicory, garlic, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potato, leeks, onions, legumes, brussel sprouts and apples.