Unfortunately, discomfort after eating has become more normal than we would like it to be. It can honestly be a variety of things so before reading this, be sure to consult with your doctor or coach on what might be going on it your body. This is not medical advice, but these tools have been found to be supportive in functional and holistic medicine.
When you eat something bitter, bitter taste receptors tell your brain to activate your vagus nerve which then alerts your digestive system to stimulate the production of saliva, bile, and stomach acid.
Bitters are able to improve sluggish digestion, alleviate digestive distress, and enhance the other areas of your health seemingly unrelated to your gut. If you notice yourself struggling with poor gut health or digestive stress, digestive bitters could make a huge difference for you.
Reasons to lean into digestive support aids:
alleviating cramping, nausea, bloating, and gas! The bitters can help to relax the muscles that contribute to cramping and bloating. While some have the properties to soothe inflammation as well.
Support digestion & Nutrient absorption with the production of saliva and bile (which are essential to breaking down your food). Stomach acid is essential to you absorbing all the nutrients from your food.
Reduces heartburn & acid reflux! If you are someone who experiences this, it's often because you are actually not producing enough stomach acid.
Supporting feelings of fullness by suppressing your hunger hormone (ghrelin). This can also be a tool to help support weight management if you find yourself reaching for more snacky foods between meals.
Support Bowel movement - better absorptions from your food can lead to more frequent and healthy bowels to remove waste.
Blood sugar balance - you already know this is key to your health! Bitters can help with insulin release and keep you more satisfied (therefore less sugary cravings).
Detoxification support by stimulating bile production which helps break down toxins and waste, this can help to reduce the toxin load in your body!
They can be used daily and are recommended to take 30 minutes before or immediately after a meal for the best support. I have been using Urban Moonshine digestive bitters, and will be honest, I need to be more consistent with taking them but when I do I feel a difference.
Just be sure to consult your doctor before adding in to make sure there are so interactions with other medications you are on. Generally, digestive biters are safe for most people to take though!
The body naturally produces enzymes in your saliva, stomach, and intestines that help the breakdown process of food. But they do naturally start to slow as we age, and sometimes the body just doesn't produce enough of the enzyme to support the breakdown, leading to bloating, or discomfort after eating. Now this doesn't mean you can take digestive enzymes and expect it to heal an inflammatory or ultra-processed food diet. You still want to lean into whole foods and minimally processed foods that support your gut, inflammation, and nourishment. But enzymes can be used to support a balanced healthy diet.
There are a lot of enzymes out there, I just recommend using one that is a blend so that it helps to break down a variety (instead of a single enzyme supplement).
Some of the ones I have tried and recommend are:
- My Girl Wellness Eat your Heart out (use code Jordan15 to save!)
- Pure Encapsulation (one I'm trying recently)
These are also great because they are easy to take with you when you travel (bitters being liquid can be harder). I always toss a few in with my vitamins to make sure I have them just in case.
This one seems so basic but makes the BIGGEST difference. If you aren't chewing your food, then you are making your body have to work to make up for all the breakdown that you didn't get with chewing and those enzymes in your saliva!
This is often a result of eating in a hurry, talking while you're eating, or just not paying attention because of distraction etc.
So next time you sit down for a meal:
- Try chewing about 25-30 times before swallowing
- Putting your utensils down in between each bite.
- Taking a breath and checking in with how you are feeling throughout your meal