The festive season is upon us, but it is especially at this time that I'd like to bring awareness to the gut, so year on year, we will have less fluctuations in our habits, and are actually kinder to our gut and bodies.
The optimal functioning of the body’s digestive system is known as digestive health, which helps in keeping the body in overall good health. Everything in the body, from hormones to heart, needs the nutrients from the digestive process to work in a proper way.
Digestive system is a group of organs working together in converting the consumed food into the energy and nutrients our body needs. Nutrition provides the energy required for growth and repair. It is believed that all the diseases begin from digestive tract. So, the food we consume for energy and nutrients have a great impact on our digestive as well as overall health.
Poor Digestive Health
As the gut health is critical to general health, so unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of illnesses including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. The primary factor contributing to unhealthy gut is disturbed gut flora’s which plays an important role in human health and disease. Factors contributing to poor digestive health includes diet, food intolerances, lifestyle, hormones, sleep and medications. Antibiotics are particularly harmful to the gut flora.
Ways to Heal Your Gut
Several ways could be followed to improve digestive health, most of these ways are simple enough to be easily incorporated in daily lifestyle. So, a few simple modifications to daily routine can make a big difference in digestive health.
1. Probiotic and Prebiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that reside in the gut while prebiotics refer to natural soluble fibers that feed probiotics. The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body. This good microflora support immune system, aid in the elimination of toxins and help to regulate metabolism. So, it is vital to consume probiotic and prebiotics both on a daily basis.
Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi and yoghurt. Rich sources of prebiotics include green leafy vegetables, citrus, flaxseed and apples etc.
2. Remove foods that are not working for you
An inflamed intestinal system leads to increasing intolerances to foods that otherwise we can tolerate. We get bloated, foggy brained, or tired after a meal containing items we are sensitive to.
The big culprits tend to be dairy, gluten and sugar, and you may have to begin listening to your body to work out what else you might not be responding well to.
Perhaps you feel washed out after a meal, or fatigued when you are meant to be nourished. Think about the food you just ate and consider if it is causing those symptoms.
Some people prefer to use tests to help hone in on probable foods as they can't receive feedback from their bodies.
After eliminating the offending foods for 21 days and you have somewhat healed, you may begin to reintroduce them. It is not forever.
3. Eat a mix of raw and cooked foods
This is for enzymes.
While most with established gut problems will have digestion problems and will need to take digestive enzymes until they establish a proper digestion, the rest of us will benefit from getting natural enzymes from raw food.
That said, humans have evolved shorter guts and are not efficient digesters and so as it stands we are more suited to both raw and cooked, rather than all raw.
4. Clean and colourful diet
Cut simple sugars and processed food! These are not naturally found foods and while they sold a hunger issue temporarily, they are nutritionally poor. Sugars in particular are harming our body's insulin and metabolic systems, and causing unprecedented levels of inflammation in the body.
Eat a varied diet. Compared with our biological ancestors, due to industrialisation of food supplies we only eat a very small selection of crop. This is a lack of diversity and is harming our microflora who are the bacteria that run the show!
5. Increase Physical Activity
Increase physical activity and a balanced body weight can help maintain a healthy digestive system. Thus, Exercising can help lower the risk. Similar to other health benefits, exercise helps in speeding up the digestion and maintain a healthy weight. Those who are overweight or underweight are prone to more digestive problems.
Book a consult today to get under your digestive issues!