McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN, founder of Nutrition Stripped, says that digestion starts in your mouth, so taking the time to chew your food and truly savor each bite in your meal will promote better nutrition absorption. "You can promote better digestion by eating slowly and not wolfing down your food. Taking sips of water in between bites helps your body break down the food and allow it to pass through the esophagus to your stomach."
When you're feeling stressed, however, it can cause inflammation to build up in your gut, resulting in gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Stress can also cause your abdominal tissues to tense up, which can impede the digestive process. So, what can you do to help ease digestion?
Start by relaxing your abdominal muscles so they do their job at breaking down food in your stomach. You can also do this two-minute stomach massage before eating a meal, this will relax your nervous system so it signals to your gut that it's time to eat. "This belly massage can help you practice breathing and get your body, mind, and gut into 'rest and digest' mode," Hill explains.
Here's how to do an abdominal massage for constipation and indigestion:
1. Lie down on your back, with your knees bent and your feet, flat on the floor.
2. Place both of your hands on your stomach and massage it in a circular motion with your palms and fingertips. Start in a clockwise motion, then counterclockwise.
3. Apply gentle pressure to areas that feel tender to you and move from the left to the right side of your abdomen, then along the bottom of your rib cage.
4. Repeat until the tight areas of your abdomen feel relaxed
5. Make sure to use your breath throughout the massage, inhaling and exhaling deeply.