Our digestive system has many functions similar to how roots function in plants. They both absorb nutrients and water. If we are not properly absorbing the nutrients we need, this can lead to a host of issues. If fact, up to 50% of health ailments we suffer from can be rooted in poor digestive health; making the digestive system the root of good health when absorbing and functioning well and the root of poor health when it is not.
Toxins in foods, medications, environmental toxins and stress can all be culprits that can disrupt proper digestion and lead to irritation in the digestive tract that can cause such symptoms as bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, diarrhea and constipation. It’s not just these symptoms we need to be concerned about either. Up to 70% of immune tissue is found in and around the digestive tract and up to 90% of serotonin receptors are found in the gut; making gut health imperative to a healthy immune function and healthy mood.
So, how can we keep a healthy and happy digestive system?
Diet The most important step for a healthy digestive system is to look at what we are ingesting. Processed foods and allergens can create a world of havoc on digestion. Common food allergens are wheat, dairy and corn. Of course, there can be many other offending foods, but these are very good places to begin omitting foods that can cause gut irritation. Committing to healing foods like the Paleo diet can go a long way in healing the digestive tract.
Enzymes We have often heard the saying “We are what we eat.” In actuality, we are what we digest. We can eat very nutritiously, but if we are not breaking down and assimilating foods well, we will not benefit with nourishment needed for energy and good health. Enzymes are protein structures that have the ability to combine substances or to take them apart and regulate numerous body functions. They are typically found in raw foods. Because it is difficult to eat a 100% raw diet, supplementing with a plant-based enzyme supplement is important for good digestion.
Probiotics Good intestinal biofilm is crucial for good health. These biofilms act as a protective barrier against toxins and aids in assimilating nutrients. Biofilm is created by good bacteria in the gut. Once again, poor diets, stress and antibiotic use are destroyers of this good gut flora. Supplementing with a good probiotic as well as eating cultured vegetables and yogurt can help restore the intestinal biofilm.
Stress The big “S” word. Seems like we just can’t strive for good health without dealing with stress. As mentioned above, stress depletes the body of good gut flora, creating a poor foundation for health, and it also decreases our bodies ability to digest properly. Digestion works best when we are relaxed; making it important, as much as possible, to eat our meals in a low stress environment. That means avoiding eating while driving. Eating with family during the holidays might count as stressful, but we have an herb for that!
We here at The Health Patch are happy to help you find the best supplements for better digestion and a happy digestive system.
Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND
For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd., Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://thehealthpatch.com.