Digestion equals health. Nutrition equals what we eat but digestion is synonymous with overall health. I still haven’t met a client who wanted to know the step by step process of their digestion system. People tend to take notice when it’s failing. A lifetime of digestive health can usually be achieved by a lifetime of prevention.
We all know food starts off in the mouth and then ends up in the toliet. The journey is miraculous in reality however, if something is off, your body let’s you know through minor or even major disturbances! Ignore and look out!
Firstly, for the record, BLOATING, INDIGESTION, GAS, BURPING and CRAMPING are not normal not at all.
If eating results in pain, bathroom trips and naps you must examine your diet.
Food intolerances and allergies all upset the balance of the digestive system. Keeping a food journal is most helpful. If you put stars beside the times you felt “off” you may be able to self diagnose. Altering what you eat may solve your problems. Keeping a food journal is a great aid especially if you need to seek out professional help.
- Try eating smaller more frequent meals.
- Meals should be simple and nutritious.
- Limit sweets. (even fruits) Excess sugars cause bloating and gas.
- Eat “when” you are hungry.
- Focus on the task of eating. Sitting down in an UNDISTRACTED state and focus on enjoying your meal. CHEW!!!
- FIBER, FIBER and more FIBER! Make sure you are eating 25-35 grams a day!!! Consume the fiber found in fruits and vegetables as well, as brown rice, legumes, oats, raw nuts and seeds. These are gluten free choices not man made gluten free.
- Avoid all non-digestable sugar alcohols. (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol). They are added to gum, candies and TONS of protein bars and powders. They cause a false sense of “full” through gas, bloating and even diarrhea.
Prevention is KEY!! Eating a clean high fiber diet, one from nature is the key to digestive success. Making sure you drink enough water (see my article on Below the Belt Magazine) on a daily basis! However sometimes adding a couple tricks of the trade to your daily routine will ensure success! All of the remedies below have other valuable properties but today we are focusing on DIGESTION
1) ALOE VERA: The juice can be added to anything. Make sure it’s not a “drink” with added sugar. Its a clear tasteless gel that can be added to anything. It soothes the digestive tract.
2) APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: It has more than 90 different substances that help balance the body. It must be consumed in an unpasteurized state to discourage the growth of bacteria within the digestive tract. It contains a water soluble fiber that binds to toxins. They are then eliminated in our feces. Older generations love a spoonful or two in boiling water first thing in the morning. I use it everyday as a part of homemade salad dressing!! Use as a replacement for white vinegar!!
3) DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: You can buy a bottle in any “health” section of any store. Natural, safe and do the trick!
4) PROBIOTICS: Antibiotics, poor diet, stress….you name it, can all impact the bodies natural flora. A high quality probiotic can restore the balance in your body. I tend to recommend the ones kept in the refrigerator. An intense two week dose can sometimes be the answer. Seek the opinion of your Naturopath (see my blg) or qualified health professional
5) GINGER: Incorporate ginger into your daily life! By increasing d igestive enzymes it prevents indigestion and eases constipation. Buy a big piece in the produce section…grate it into hot water, meals, smoothies or juice it daily!! Ziplock and freeze it for later use!! If you love ginger there are “candies”. Make sure they are sugar free.
6) LICORICE:It is often recommended for stomach issues. I used it while pregnant as a mild laxative but effective as well for stomach and intestinal ulcers. I love the single servings as a snack late in the day. It also comes in a lozenge form.
7) PEPPERMINT: Peppermint tea is an absolutely fabulous treat after dinner. Its a miracle worker at breaking down gas in the bowel. Its a great aid for Irritable Bowel Syndrome due to its ability to stop muscle spasms. Peppermint is also available in capsule form. FYI: Start with the minimum dose or you may experience a burning sensation in the rectum after a trip to the toliet!! Chopped fresh mint in water and fruit is a wonderful start to any day!
8) WATERMELON: It is easily digestible. It neutralizes stomach acid, great diuretic and a gentle laxative. Yes, it’s high in natural sugar but it’s fiber content leaves it low on the glycemic index making it a satisfying breakfast choice or snack for any age. Thinking of a detox? (see my blog) watermelon can be a great choice as the “mono” food for the detox. Even a day or two of consuming just watermelon can be a welcome break for the body.
9) PAPAYA: This wondrous fruit contains natural digestive properties. If you don’t love the taste you can buy it in a chewable form!
10) BLUEBERRIES: This high fiber fruit prevents the growth of “unfriendly “bacteria. It helps to keep the belly clean and healthy Blueberries are a great addition to spinach salads, quinoa and shakes. Use frozen or fresh. Try them in anything. One cup is just 90 calories
11) LIVE YOGURT: Live yogurt is nature’s probiotic. Instead of purchasing a probiotic supplement start by eating this “friendly bacteria”. Just one cup a day can prevent constipation, alleviate gas and bloating. 12) FENNEL: Fennel is a forgotten vegetable. Most of my clients have never even tried it. It is used to ease digestion and prevent spasms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome I recommend it constantly for women due to its diuretic superiority. I am a huge fan of the tea and pure fennel seeds pills. Its a quick remedy gas after consuming legumes.
Chopped fennel and radishes with 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed virgin olive oil and /4 cup apple cier vinegar. (salt and vinegar to taste)
Digestive health is vital in achieving overall health. Seek the advice of your Naturopath or Medical Doctor if problems persist! Love your self on the inside, too!! Xo
- Good digestion by Ken Babal
- Natural Wonderfoods. Duncan Baird Publishing