Some people – whether due to lack of time or habit – usually eat quickly and do not chew food because they want to continue with their activity. This is a serious mistake: chewing is directly linked to the brain, so you have to be more alert, because in addition, poor digestion threatens two basic human needs: good humor and good sleep.
For all this, health is linked to the digestive system. We all want to feel good, be in a good mood, but even if we want to, it is closely related to food.
Diarrhea and constipation should also be given importance. Communities of good and bad bacteria live in our gut, as well as parasites, fungi, viruses and neurons (this is the so-called enteric nervous system of 100 million neurons), while bacteria also live in the brain. Bacteria and neurons communicate and when there is inflammation in the intestines, they threaten good health. What we used to call the intestinal flora, today with more research and knowledge, is called the microbiota.
People who suffer from inflammation should consider eating an anti-inflammatory diet. The most famous are the Mediterranean and the Japanese because they consume a lot of fish and put an emphasis on vegetables by excluding processed and refined foods, as well as consuming less red meat. It is important to avoid raw leafy vegetables.
Tips for good digestion:
- It is beneficial to drink two or three glasses of water at natural temperature to start the day and before breakfast. It helps to eliminate the toxins that still remain in the body.
- Some people drink water with lemon juice, which is also recommended, but it is convenient to drink lemon juice with sorbet so as not to damage the tooth enamel.
- It is necessary to give twelve hours between the last meal of the day and the first meal in the morning. If they are not used to it, you can start with 8 hours of fasting. This frees the body from daily activities and gives rest to our organs.
- If we eat raw vegetables, especially with a garnish of leaves, I recommend giving two hours before eating fruits, it also contributes to better digestion.
- When eating red meat, it’s best to start with a plate of salad, preferably green.
- People who are suffering from discomfort or bloating in the stomach can start with a light salad without leaves. They should also avoid potatoes as they tend to ferment and cause discomfort later on and they should avoid or reduce their intake of raw leafy vegetables.
- Avoid starches (potatoes and pasta) with red meat as it is more laborious on the digestive system.
- Along with leafy vegetables, flax, sesame or any other seed may be better tolerated when mixed and ingested as a juice.
Another pertinent point is food allergies and intolerances. We need to know which foods we are allergic to (itchy eyes or ears, itching, hives, rhinitis, etc.). Regarding celiac disease, we should keep in mind that not consuming so much white flour even though we do not have celiac contributes to our good health. Whole grains, corn, cassava, are buckwheat flours that are completely supplanted by wheat flours that contain gluten.
To the extent these recommendations become part of our lives, that is, they become habits, the body will find its balance and provide us with a great deal of well-being.
Clinical psychologist and family therapist. Founder and President of the Argentine Association of Integrative Medicine (AAMI).