When I say how we eat, I am talking about our behaviors before, during, and after meal times. The health of our mealtime habits can determine if we experience digestive symptoms or not. This is because digestion doesn’t start in the mouth. It starts in the brain.
Our brain and gut are connected by the enteric nervous system6. When this system is in a rested state (rest and digest), the brain signals to the gut that it is ready to digest food. If the nervous system is in a stressed state (fight or flight), the brain signals to the body that it must prioritize survival. This can disrupt digestion and lead to uncomfortable symptoms after eating.
The beautiful thing is that we have the ability to help guide our nervous system out of the stressed fight-or-flight mode and into rest-and-digest mode using a few key lifestyle strategies. Try out this three-step relaxation plan before your next meal to improve digestion in mere minutes. Build these strategies into your daily routine to experience smoother digestion and improved gut health over time: