- Eat in a calm, relaxed setting. This activates our parasympathetic nervous system, also known as our “resting and digesting” system, which facilitates digestion.
- Eat slow. This allows your body time to produce digestive secretions in the mouth and stomach and also improves our ability to determine when we have been satiated.
- Chew your food. The mechanical action of chewing is responsible for generating saliva and alerting the stomach to prepare for food entry. Starch digestion also begins in the mouth.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! Water provides the fluids that we need to complete digestion and absorption and to maintain homeostasis. In addition, people often mistake hunger for thirst, which can lead to overeating and exacerbate health conditions.
- Boost your mineral intake. People are often deficient in minerals like magnesium, chromium, and zinc, which can lead to cravings and poor blood sugar regulation.
- Include protein at each meal. Protein digests at a slow rate thus your blood sugar is more likely to remain in balance. Protein is broken down into amino acids and used to make neurotransmitters like serotonin and beta-endorphins. These neurotransmitters help to create energy, regulate moods, reduce physical and emotional pain, and encourage relaxation.
- Include healthy fats. Fat has been associated with negative results but fat has many health benefits. Quality fats help to balance blood sugar and hormones, help absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and calcium, create cellular membranes, support brain health, and so much more. Some sources of healthy fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olives, fish oil.
- Eat with the seasons. Eating foods that are in harmony with nature help us to adapt to climate changes and remain healthy. During the winter, make sure you consume warming foods that include soups, broths, root vegetables, winter greens, squashes, mushrooms, and pears. Now is the perfect time to include those soups and stews made with immune supporting broth and vegetables.
By Pamela Geisel