Digestive issues such as bloating or abdominal distension after eating can be very uncomfortable and make eating a not so enjoyable experience. The good news is there are ways you can rewire your brain and body to help improve digestion and hopefully prevent uncomfortable digestive issues from occurring. I’m going to list a couple of my favorite techniques for you to try throughout the day or before your next meal.
1. Chew Your Food: As silly as this sounds, most of us aren’t chewing our food properly. When we chew enough, that increases stomach acid and enzymes need to help break down our food. A simple way to improve your chewing is to count the number of seconds you normally chew and double it. Putting your eating utensil or finger food down between bites can also encourage you to slow down and increase chewing time.
2. Rotate, Rotate, Rotate: Movement throughout our thoracic spine helps to improve rib cage and diaphragm mobility (which affects how abdominal pressure is managed), along with stimulating the pelvic nerves/nervous system. Performing thoracic rotation throughout the day, as well as before eating, can help to set up the digestive system for improved function. You can perform this in standing/seated or laying on your side performing the open book exercise.
3. Rewire Your Brain: If our nervous system is revved up or we’re stressed, we can be in the fight or flight state where digestion is not a priority. Bringing awareness to how we are feeling and the state of our body prior to eating can be very helpful in calming the nervous system and signaling to our body that digestion can occur. Mindfulness activities such as progressive relaxation, breathing with a long exhale and body scanning to cue into any muscle tension are helpful to perform prior to eating.
I hope these can be a positive addition to your day. With these techniques, start small and don’t try to do too much! Little changes throughout the day can produce major benefits without draining or overwhelming yourself. Sometimes, less really is more, especially with the digestive system.