Digestion and Your Health
Everyday we eat and drink. Without having to think about it, our bodies break down what we consume and separate out the nutrients we need to survive then get rid of the waste we don’t need. When the digestive system runs like a well oiled machine, we feel good. On the other hand when we eat something not quite right, or overindulge in sweets or carbs, spicy foods or alcohol it can throw the digestive system out of balance leading to bloating, pain, heartburn, constipation or have you running to the bathroom.
It's not just food and drink that affects digestion, it’s the environment as well. What else do you have to digest each day? Work, stress, bad news, good news, social interactions, a busy schedule, lifes daily tasks? There’s always good or not so good stressors in life that will affect your digestion. How you "digest" the situation could cause optimal digestion to take a back seat as you deal with the issue in front of you.
There are a few things that can help if you’ve experienced any type of digestive upset.
- Pay attention to what you eat and when feel discomfort. Keeping a food journal to find out what foods trigger you is a great start. There are some foods that are more likely to negatively affect digestion- wheat (gluten), corn, dairy, sugar- to name a few
- Eat a diet rich in fiber. Combined with adequate water intake soluble fiber will be able to digest much easier. With the help of water, this fiber turns to gel and slows digestion.
Fiber rich foods: Beans, berries, avocados, apples, whole grains, nuts and seeds
- Are you drinking enough water? Water aids in the breakdown of foods along your digestive track allowing your body to absorb nutrients. Water softens stool as well, which aids in preventing constipation.
- How are you digesting your environment? - the news, social media and daily life stressors. Holding on to the emotions of life’s events could lead to digestive upset. Think of how you feel when you're nervous or excited- the feeling of butterflies in your stomach or a clenching in your abdomen. It’s perfectly ok and normal to feel this but notice if you continue to hold onto the feeling long after it has passed. It’s a practice to let go and come back into a more balanced state of being.
- Probiotocs and digestive enzymes may also be helpful in creating a healthier internal digestive environment. Digestive enzymes break down the molecular bonds that hold food together. As we age the amount of digestive enzymes begin to decline. This decline can result in poor digestion. Probiotics are also essential in maintanig a healthy microbiome in the gut. When our gut flora beomes imbalanced with more harmful bacteria than good bacteria, it can cause bloating, pain, IBS, constipation or heartburn.
- keep a food journal to find out which foods might be bothering you
- stock up on some healthy fiber rich foods
- consume at least 64 oz of pure clean water every day
- reduce environmental stress as much as possible
- support your digestion with probiotics and/or digestive enzymes if required.
Digestive issues can be more severe, so if you’ve been experiencing frequent issues please consult with your doctor and/or naturopath
To Your Good Health