Updated: Sep 28, 2018
Digestive health is now considered to be a key contributor to a healthy mind and body. One of the best ways to improve your health is to work from the inside out. How do you go about enhancing your gut health and what should you be looking for?
Do you suffer from acid reflux?
Feeling overfull after small meals?
General fatigue or brain fog?
Are you regularly catching colds or under the weather?
All of these types of symptoms can be indicative of a compromised gut.
Indeed research is showing a strong connection between the gut and brain health, and the gut and your immune system. You may have come across the word microbiome in the press recently. Your microbiome is a collection of bacteria living in your body that has a very important role in lots of different bodily functions. Think of it as a mini-ecosystem, which includes different types of bacteria, yeasts, fungi and even viruses that live within us. We have only just scratched the surface with regard to the function and purpose of these trillions of microbial organisms, but research to date is beginning to show improvements in different health conditions when we start improving our digestive health.
Where to begin?
Keep the balance right. Your gut maintains a level of both friendly and not so friendly bacteria. We need to always be attempting to increase the friendly/healthy type of bacteria and decrease the not so friendly/unhealthy type. Your diet has a lot to do with it. If you constantly eat refined, processed and sugary foods you will increase the over growth of bad bacteria. If you eat lots of whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit you will increase the good bacteria. Prebiotic foods feed the probiotic in your gut. These include asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, leeks, wheat, barley and rye, so try to include these in your daily eating plan. Fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kombuchaare all loaded with natural probiotic and will raise the level of good bacteria in your gut. Check out this wonderful company Loving Foods, where you can try out some of these delicious pre and probiotic foods.
Extra digestive support. If you are struggling to digest your food and suffer from some bloating, discomfort and gas, the addition of extra enzymes will help break down food into smaller particles so you can digest them more efficiently. Our body uses enzymes to break down our food but sometimes we do not have enough of them. Always sit down to eat so that your digestive system is in a more relaxed state to receive food. Chew your food more thoroughly (the optimum is 32 times before you swallow – try this challenge). Don’t overeatand avoid foods which you know can cause you a problem such as wheat and dairy. Increase raw fruits, vegetables and salads which are full of live and powerful enzymes. You can also support this issue by taking digestive enzymes as a supplement, which has been shown in research to reduce bloating and discomfort. Always take with your meal.
Low stomach acid. If you tend to feel overfull after a small meal or your food sits in your stomach for a long time, you may have low stomach acid. Symptoms may also include indigestion, flatulence and burping or even constipation. As you get older your low stomach acid increases. You can increase the natural acid environment in your stomach by starting your day with some warm water with freshly squeezed lemon. You can also use a supplement – Betaine HCL and take it with your meals.
In summary –
Increase pre and probiotic foods
Add more enzymes – eat lots of raw food.
Increase stomach acid – warm water with freshly squeezed lemon everyday.
For good all-round digestive support, here’s my recipe for some soothing bone broth.
If you are suffering from any of the above and could do with some professional support please do get in touch for a free discovery call.