10 Healthy Habits to Improve Digestion
Essential Tips To Speed Up Your Recovery From Candida & Food Sensitivities
- Drink Fresh Ginger Tea
- Take a good Muti Vit & Mineral Complex
- Drink apple cider vinegar
- Eat dinner before 6.30pm
- Take probiotics
- Eat healthy portions
- Use good fats
- Add spices and herbs
- Go for a quick walk
- Drink mint/fennel/fresh ginger root/ chamomile tea
Can You Improve Digestion Just by Eating 30 Minutes Earlier?
You probably remember the sensation when you ate really late or very rich foods that didn’t agree with you.
What you eat and when plays a big part in how you feel. Even more so if you have a food intolerance or candida. Then you can really do with a few nifty tricks to improve digestion.
Why is it so important to eat light and early?
- It’s because food that is not straight away digested gets stored as fat or starts fermenting – the perfect breeding ground for candida and food allergies.
- Too much acidic food like meat, fish, oils, egg, sweets or coffee also causes your system to become over-acidic. This makes you feel achy, heavy and lethargic. So even too much of a good thing like oily fish for instance can cause you to feel worse for wear.
- To improve digestion means diverting as much of your body’s energy from digestion to healing as possible.
Hence the smoother your digestive process, the leaner you will be and the quicker your body will heal. The candida diet takes all this into consideration to let you recover as quickly as possible.
I bet you feel a bit confused right now about when you can eat what. That’s totally normal. Nutrition is a science in itself! It’s taken me years to get my head around it and I’m by no means a nutritionist.
I’ve put together a list for you with tips that all improve digestion – Helping you to feel great and enjoy your meals. These are all habits I follow personally for better digestive health.
Bear in mind that I slowly phased one new habit in after the other.
If you were to try introducing all digestive aids at once it would seem quite a struggle. So take care not to overwhelm yourself aspiring to be “super healthy”.
Living just a little healthier one day after the other is just fine – we don’t have to do it all at once 🙂
10 Healthy Habits to Improve Digestion
1. Drink Fresh Ginger Tea with/ after breakfast
Boil a thumb size piece fresh ginger root in a liter of water for 20 minutes. Strain and sip the tea with/ after breaky.
It boosts your circulation, stimulates your digestion and also fights colds – a great weapon against candida infections!
How often should You Drink Ginger Tea?
If you want to lose weight, prevent arthritis/joint problems or you are constipated then drink a cup of ginger tea every morning. You can of course sip it more often in acute cases say when you have a cold.
TopTip: If you make a generous couple of pints or liter of ginger tea and drink only one cup a day, then you can keep the rest in the fridge and enjoy it at least 3 -4 days – saves time and makes an acceptable coffee substitute. Strong ginger tea really is quite exhilarating!
2. Take in Extra Nutriens to Improve Digestion
Stress and illness zapp your energy levels.
So you end up not getting the increased amount of vitamins & minerals that your body needs to function properly. Hence it is advisable to take a good supplement to aid your recovery process.
a) Take a good Muti Vit & Mineral Complex
This doesn’t just improve digestion. It helps your immune system in general.
I have been using a high strength multi vit for a few years now and I am very happy with it. It is the only one I have ever taken where I straight away noticed that it was doing me good. My entire family swears by it now – highly recommended.
The standard highstreet vitamins are no good.
It’s better to take a high quality product occasionally than a cheap one every day -You’ll notice the difference.
How many Multi Vitamins to take?
I take one multi vit every day (2 when I feel as if I’m coming down with something) and I have pretty much not been ill since.
In comparison when I started on the candida diet and didn’t take a high strength multi vit I suffered from way more headaches and sniffles.
I’d like to think that the money I save from not having to buy headache tablets and cold remedies is better spent on vitamins 😉
TopTip: If you regularly take vitamins then bulk buying works out cheaper. You can save a lot of money that way.
For example the company where I buy my supplements from, Higher Nature (UK), offers 15-20 % off when you buy multiple items. So rather than buying vitamins every month purchase all the pills you (and even your family) need quarterly – Well worth it!
b) Take Chlorella and/ or Spirulina to Improve Digestion
Not the most pleasant drinking experience but adding one of these nutrient rich powderised algae to your diet would really boost your health and improve digestion, believe it or not.
Spirulina is a great allround vitamin & mineral complex – it particularly helps when you don’t have energy.
Chlorella is also rich in vitamins and minerals. A real secret weapon against candida as it combats constipation which so often is a problem for people with indigestion.
How much Chlorella/ Spirulina to take?
I take Spirulina in the morning and Chlorella diluted in water (or water and lemon juice to mask its taste) before every meal. This is a bit of a nuisance but it’s perfect to relieve constipation and improve digestion!
Why choose Chlorella/ Spirulina powder over tablets?
Tabs are more convenient but some binding agents are not healthy and they are harder to digest which kind of defeats the whole point of taking them to improve your digestive health.
3. Add Apple Cider Vinegar – It’s the Best & Cheapest Digestive Aid Ever
If you can stomach drinking apple cider vinegar (acv) adding this to your diet is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.
Your body needs to produce lots of different enzymes to break down the food. If you overindulge or have been ill for some time this process is often impaired. Apple cider vinegar naturally contains enzymes – perfect improve digestion.
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar to Take?
a) Drink a small glass of water with 1-2 teaspoons of cloudy acv before every meal.
Particularly with every big protein meal (meat, fish, eggs, feta, tofu, beans). This kickstarts digestive enzymes, and improving your digestion is key to beating illnesses (especially candida).
b) Even add a dash of acv to salads, stews and marinades – as a healthy addition
TopTip: Buy your acv locally. Naturally cloudy acv has the most nutrients. The ones you can get in supermarkets taste like battery acid and do more harm than good.
4) No. 1 Rule to Improve Digestion – Eat Dinner early!
Aim for 6.00/ 6.30 pm to avoid undigested food causing you to feel hungover and achy the next day.
The deeper you sleep the better your overall health. Even a power nap after lunch is a healthy habit to improve digestion and reduce stress.
5. Take a High Strength Probiotic
If you have been taking antibiotics or you suspect that you have candida then simply eating wholesome foods is not enough to re-balance your digestive system. One of the best ways to improve digestion then is to take a probiotic with a glass of cold water before breakfast and supper.
The more goodies you have in your system, the less baddies (yeast/ candida) can get a foothold.
TopTip: Take the probiotic away from acidic or hot drinks to protect the bacteria. So lemony drinks, coffee or tea are a big nono straight before or afterwards.
How Many Probiotics to Take?
Take a Probiotic capsule 2 x per day (before breakfast and supper). Make sure the supplement is high strength and coated to resist stomach acid. The probiotic I take for instance, Probio Intensive has four different strains/9 billion friendly micro organisms to promote a healthy gut flora. Here’s where I buy my probiotics from in the UK (Higher Nature) .
If you are in the US the best probiotic to take in my opinion is Ultimate Flora.
TopTip: When you use the link above to buy your probiotic you’ll get 15% off 🙂
6. Get Used to Healthy Portions of Food
To improve digestion and to get optimum nourishment eat ⅔ veg, ⅓ carb and ⅓ protein.
Top Tip: Split your plate in 3 parts.
For the best healthy dinner recipes fill 2 parts of your plate with organic vegetables. Then split the rest evenly between a small piece of protein (fish, meat, beans, tofu, feta, eggs, nuts…) and a small amount of whole grains like brown rice or soba noodles for instance.
- If you stick to this ratio with every meal you’ll be slim and fighting fit. If weight is not an issue for you – have seconds. (if you follow an anti candida diet plan, go easy on the carbs: rice, noodles and starchy veg like potatoes)
- If you want to lose weight eat mostly vegetables with your choice of protein (fish, meat, beans, tofu, feta, eggs, nuts…) and NO or little grains.
- The fewer carbs you eat the slimmer you get – that’s why following a low carb diet like the candida diet helps you to stay in shape.
- If you follow the paleo diet then eat as much meat/ fish and vegetables… as you like. Just leave the grains and legumes out.
7. Use Generous Amounts of Good Fats & Healthy Oils
Don’t be shy of using big amounts of quality fats and oils. It’s a great way to improve digestion and your overall health.
- Coconut oil and flax seed oil for instance are incredibly good for you. You can eat tons of that stuff without gaining weight. It will just curb your carb appetite which is a good thing, so you don’t overindulge.
- Add flax oil after cooking (not heat resistant).
- Extra virgin olive oil is a good choice for sauteing, but not for high temperature cooking.
8. Use Spices and Herbs
All in all I do encourage you to experiment with adding a little spice and herbs to your meals as they fight candida and can pep up your meals 🙂
That said, if you make a very rich, hot sauce with lots of garlic and spices, like a curry sauce, be aware that this can cause serious die off reactions and irritate the gut lining due to the acidity of the spices (if using chilli, cayenne pepper…).
It’s worth bearing this in mind as this can make your healthy dinner recipes a little bit difficult to digest – which could negatively impact on how well you feel the next day.
Spicy food can trigger IBS symptoms, make tummy problems worse and by killing the good bacteria in your intestines – it slows the recovery from candida down.
TopTip: To improve digestion add chilled cucumber slices, lettuce (or steamed potatoes, greens or sweet potatoes from stage 3 of the candida diet) to your meals. These take some of the heat out of very spicy food – it’s a good idea to have them as a side of your curries.
To be on the safe side opt for a mild curry dish (without cream, dried fruit citric acid or sugar!) and enjoy those types of meals only occasionally.
9. Go for a Quick Walk to Improve Digestion
Get into the habit of going for a quick walk around the block right after your dinner. This is particularly important when you eat late. You need the movement to kick-start your otherwise sluggish digestion.
10. Digestive Bitters
Straight away after your meal take a few drops of herbal bitters to stimulate bile flow to further help the breaking down of your food. Swedish Bitters for instance contain soothing extracts from Angelica root, Aloe and over 12 other ingredients. I came across this tip on the candidadietforum and found it really helpful.
Top Tip: Fill some of the herbal extract in a smaller dropper bottle – much more economical and easier to administer drops.
11. Natural Digestive Aids: Mint, Chamomile Tea and the Soothing Effect of Fennel – No more gas & bloating
Ok, I said 10 Healthy Habits – this is No. 11, but it’s a good one, so we might as well list it here 😉
20-30 minutes after your dinner drink a cup of lose leaf mint or chamomile tea to improve digestion. You’ll also find that adding fennel or fennel seeds to your cooking makes your food easier to digest. These are very inexpensive but effective ways to get rid off bloating and gas after a meal.
TopTip: Use Chamomile as Sleeping Aid! Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties helping you to heal quicker while having a mellowing effect on your mood, so effective in fact it sends me off to sleep I’m not kidding 😉
Summary How to Improve Digestion
You don’t really need to change an awful lot to improve digestion.
Little healthy changes go a long way. You definitely don’t need an arsenal of prescriptions. A good multivitamin complex and high strength probiotic suffice in most cases. There is so much you can do easily straight away though:
- Eat a little earlier, slightly smaller portions, get a short walk in after dinner…
- Drinking fresh ginger tea and herbal teas for instance goes a long way towards Re-balancing the PH in Your Body which is key to improve digestion & healing in general. Take care to balance the acidity of meat, oil, fish and eggs with an abundance of vegetables and good quality water.
- Stay away from coffee, big amounts of grains and sugar, chew well and don’t let the people around you rush you – Stress is the killer of your digestive health.
Take regular time out for yourself to recuperate 🙂