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Improve your digestion with the right posture

by Dominique Vanier, B.Sc.H., M.Env.Sc., on 28 June 2017, Digestion
right-posture

Many who suffer with digestion problems have tried every trick in the book. From removing top food allergens to drinking peppermint tea, there are endless remedies and approaches to take when searching for some relief.

A lesser-known culprit of digestive distress is poor posture. Sure, slouching can cause neck pain and lead to tension headaches, but it can also negatively impact digestive peristalsis – the propelling movement of food through the digestive tract.

The poor vs right posture

This phenomenon has been found especially true if you assume a head-forward, slouched position while eating. In a study published by the journal Nutrients, consuming food in an upright body position was found to be the best posture with the most positive impact on gastric emptying rate and post-meal rise in blood amino acid concentrations. In other words, when eating meals that contain protein, enjoying them seated with your shoulders down and back while maintaining a neutral neck can benefit the digestive process.

Digestive symptoms that may arise from poor posture can include gas, bloating, and even mild abdominal pain. In fact, one study analyzed the influence of body posture on intestinal transit of gas, finding that maintaining an upright posture favours gas evacuation in individuals with gas retention – such as those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

While food can be consumed in any postural position – such as eating a snack while casually lying on the couch, scarfing down a salad at work with one hand typing on the computer, or eating breakfast standing while making coffee – assuming an upright seated position in a stress-free environment seems to be the most conducive for allowing the flow of digestive juices and blood to the digestive tract.

If you suffer from occasional unpleasant digestive symptoms, there are numerous remedies that can help ease discomfort:

  • Try therapeutic tea. Peppermint and chamomile tea are effective and affordable herbs that have been used for centuries to promote better digestion. They both have anti-spasmodic, carminative, and relaxing properties which promote good digestion.
  • Support your stomach acid. Having inadequate digestive enzymes is common especially as we age. Luckily, there are a few key foods that can help promote the release of enzymes from digestive organs for the breakdown of meals. Consuming a small amount of organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar prior to a meal is a natural way to stimulate pancreatic juices.
  • Love your liver and gallbladder. The liver and gallbladder are the two organs that make or store bile – the substance our body uses to digest fats. Herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, boldo, and artichoke found in Boldocynara stimulate the liver and gallbladder to support digestion, and may help relieve adverse gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Start your day with warm lemon water. Drinking a glass of warm lemon water not only provides a flavourful punch compared to plain water, but it also stimulates the release of liver enzymes to break down proteins and flush out toxins.
  • Spice up your life with ginger. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that can expedite stomach emptying in individuals who suffer from indigestion. It can be enjoyed in many forms – in culinary dishes, warming tea, or in a refreshing carbonated beverage.

If you experience chronic digestive issues, it is important to work with your primary healthcare provider for a treatment plan that optimizes your health and to ensure your symptoms are not associated with a more serious underlying cause.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1773697/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27089362

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