If you don’t chew your food well you are more likely to swallow air with your food, this can pass into the intestines and increase bloating. After your mouth your digestive system does not have teeth, your gut moves and squeezes to mix and push food through it, but this not break down tougher foods – you need to chew these foods well, prior to swallowing.
If you are eating whilst working you may experience stress, particularly if you are answering a discourteous email that demands some diplomacy in its response, or dealing with a complaint on the telephone. It does not help your digestion (or your IBS) if your body is experiencing stress whilst you are eating a meal. Stress causes an increase in adrenaline, a hormone that gets the body ready for action, and this hormone slows the digestive tract, slowing down digestion. Adrenaline reduces the amount of digestive juices that are secreted to help digest your food, therefore it is perhaps not surprising that you feel so uncomfortable if consuming food when stressed. Sitting up straight can also help – use gravity to help your digestion and don’t slouch when eating.
Sometimes it is difficult to change what we do, particularly if you feel that you may be penalised in some way if you take a break at work, but it is worth considering. Under the current economic climate it is difficult to insist on taking breaks if your colleagues do not, so perhaps it is time we all support each other and take back our work breaks and lunchtime, to allow everyone time to sit down, relax and ‘rest & digest.’