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Our digestive track is at the core of our health. This of course begins with a good balanced diet and healthy eating habits, which are reviewed below. It can be very simple. Best of health to you.

1. Eat in a relaxed way in a pleasant setting, and take your time. CHEW your food well until it is liquid. If you are under emotional pressure or in a hurry, take simple food, such as fresh juices, fruit, yogurt, some sunflower seeds, or a healthy protein bar.

2. Keep up your exercise regimen. Walking and yoga are both particularly good for digestion. If you want to do any type of strenuous exercise, wait at least two hours after eating any significant amount.

3. Drink enough water (6 to 8 cups a day), but not with meals unless you’re on a weight-loss diet trying to lower food intake. Minimize ice cold drinks and consume more soothing warm drinks such as hot lemon water or herb teas.

4. Get enough fiber in your diet, whether from vegetables and fruits, bran, psyllium or chia seeds, and an adequate amount of whole grains and fresh sprouts (or cooked legumes if digested well).

For dealing with digestive problems, try these tips:

5. Remove food allergens from your diet. Learn which foods cause reactions and affect how you feel. See my book The False Fat Diet. You may need a blood test to check out your food sensitivities.

6. Minimize toxins and irritants; eat organic foods whenever possible, and eat simply. People who have digestive disorders should avoid additives, such as fluoride (often added to toothpaste) and carageenan (found in cottage cheese and other foods), both of which can act as irritants.

7. If you have chronic indigestion, try supplementing your meals with enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid. If that doesnft help, ask your doctor to test you for these factors and for microbial imbalance (bacteria, yeast and parasites). Then, supplement as needed with enzymes (to aid digestion), bicarbonate soda (for excess acid), or betaine hydrochloride capsules (for deficient stomach acid). For more information, see the article on my website, Causes and Remedies for Common Digestive Problems.

8. Learn your best personal remedies for digestive upsets. You can learn to minimize constipation and diarrhea by using foods, herbs, and nutrients that help to prevent these common ailments and cope with them when they do occur.

9. Occasional indigestion, heartburn, bloating after you eat, and flatulence may see normal, or at least are quite common, yet they can be remedied by following these tips, even just chewing well. If you have ongoing symptoms of digestive upset, get tested to see if you have food allergies, low or high stomach acid, yeast overgrowth, or bad bugs. Your health care practitioner can order these tests from a specialty lab.

10. Support and repair the digestive tract with the right nutrients, such as glutamine and other vitamins and minerals (see The New Detox Diet). Remember: Eat a low allergenic diet, find the best foods that feel right to you, and chew your food well.


Elson M. Haas, MD

Elson M. Haas, MD is a medical practitioner with nearly 40 years experience in patient care, always with in an interest in natural medicine. For the past 30 years, he has been instrumental in the development and practice of Integrated Medicine at the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (PMCM), which he founded in 1984 and where he is the Medical Director. Dr Haas has been perfecting a model of healthcare that integrates sophisticated Western diagnostics and Family Medicine with time-honored natural therapies from around the world.

This educating, writing doctor is also the author of many books including Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st Century Edition, The NEW Detox Diet: The Complete Guide for Lifelong Vitality with Recipes, Menus, & Detox Plans and more. His latest book is Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine which integrates Natural, Eastern, and Western Approaches for Optimal Health. Visit his website for more information on his work, books and to sign up for his newsletter.