Updated: Sep 28, 2018
To date the roll of our digestive system has been totally underestimated. Unless it can digest and absorb nutrients efficiently, it is unlikely that we will achieve optimum health.
A U.K. survey of 500 people revealed that 1 in 10 suffers from heart burn, indigestion, abdominal pains, constipation or diarrhoea.
With Christmas fast approaching and the temptation to over indulge, supporting your digestive system a couple of months before can mean not suffering unpleasant symptoms afterwards.
The very long digestive tract has high nutrient needs and the different areas require different kinds of support.
Think about where it is in your digestive system that you might be having symptoms.
Do you suffer from reflux?
Do you chew your food thoroughly? Do you talk whilst chewing? or chew with your mouth open? Insufficient chewing and larger meals with high fat content can be some of the reasons for this, just as eating very late or just before bed.
Sit down and eat your meal, chewing slowly. Try not to do other things whilst eating. Chewing is the first stage of breaking down your food before it enters the stomach so it is a really important part of the process.
Taking a digestive enzyme can support this too.
Do you have a sense of over fullness in your stomach after a couple of bites?
This can indicate a slow digestion; food is churning in the stomach for too long because it’s natural movement has slowed down. A digestive enzyme will help support this process.
Do you experience bloating or stomach pains?
The natural movement of food through the digestive tract can sometimes be disrupted so the muscles which contract and relax become uncoordinated and go in to spasm. Peppermint tea and peppermint oil provide a calming effect for the abdominal spasms that may occur.
Do you suffer from flatulence?
Flatulence is when excess gases build up in the digestive tract and are then expelled. This can sometimes be very embarrassing. It may be caused by all of the above and/or chemical reactions after eating certain types of food. The foods may be incompletely digested when they get to the large intestine and then need to be broken down by bacteria which produces flatulence. Support this by drinking fresh ginger root in warm water. Using turmeric can also counter flatulence. Increasing friendly bacteria in the gut helps to reduce gas producing bacteria.
Low stomach acid can be a common cause for all of the systems above. There is a simple home test you can use to see whether you need more HCL (hydrochloric acid) in your stomach.
The Bicarb Burp Test
Mix 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda in 200ml of water and drink on an empty stomach, ideally first thing in the morning. There should be significant burping within 2 minutes, in which case there is enough stomach acid. If you have low levels of stomach acid, a short course of HCL (3-6 months) will stimulate cells in your stomach to begin secreting acid again. Specific foods and herbs may also help.
Do you have bowel irregularity?
There is a general consensus that passings hard stools less then 3 times a week is irregular. To rectify this increase your fluid intake gradually by build up to 2 litres of water a day. Increase your fibre intake by adding whole foods, salad and dark green leafy vegetables such as, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard and kale, to your daily diet. Take regular exercise, our bodies were designed to move and this will encourage the muscles to help expel waste matter.
Try my Fruity Green juice recipe. Calming, soothing & hydrating with good quietly fibre.
Consider this a really good time to get your digestive system in tip top shape in preparation for the festive season.
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