It’s estimated that more than 100 million Americans are affected by some kind of digestive disorder. Digestive disorders affect everyone differently. Some people have it extreme while others just have some mild discomfort.
The GI tract functions as the “food processor” of the body. It breaks down food first, by chewing, then by a chemical process of our saliva to colon microbes. Everything we eat has an impact on our body. That’s why it really is true “You are What you Eat”. The food that passes through the GI tract contains nutrients, but also contains toxins. Toxins like: food additives, pesticides, and certain foods that cause an inflammatory reaction in the GI tract. Food allergies is commonly a primary cause of digestive disorders. Other lifestyle factors like stress can also cause digestive issues.
I like to always say, that if you notice gas, bloating, heartburn, acid reflux, or other symptoms after eating a certain food, avoid that food. You don’t necessarily have to avoid it forever, but avoid it for at least 2 week and in the mean time I recommend adding a daily probiotic and digestive enzyme to your nutritional supplement regimen. Probiotics and digestive enzymes can help restore the natural balance in your digestive system that has gone out of whack due to many things from our daily hectic lives.
The foods we eat these days are not full of live enzymes because we eat a lot of processed and overly cooked foods. We also do not eat a lot of fermented foods which are the foods that contain the most probiotics (good bacteria) to help keep our digestive system in working order. Some of the most common foods that cause inflammation in our digestive system are: dairy, wheat, gluten, and sugar. These foods are everywhere and in everything.
I know too many people that have become accustomed to living with digestive disorders such as abdominal pain and bloating, irritable bowel and constipation. Digestive problems are particularly common in our society and have become part of the daily routine for many of us, but in normal condition they are not supposed to appear at all.
Common Reasons for Digestive Issues:
Poor nutrition: loads of sugars and simple carbohydrates, consumption of artificial sweeteners, caffeine and alcohol, avoiding dietary fiber and eating too much food.
Unhealthy lifestyle: smoking, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, eating before bedtime and emotional stress.
Allergy and food sensitivity: food sensitivity can be caused by a lack of lactase which is responsible for breaking down milk sugar, or because the immune system mistakenly identifies the food as dangerous component and therefore works against it.
Viral infections: infections that damage the digestive system and lead to many diseases such as under-active thyroid gland, diabetes or a hiatal hernia.
Medications: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics that destroys the friendly bacteria in the gut, synthetic hormones and laxatives may all affect the function of the digestive system.
Steps to ease digestive issues:
Consume Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes Daily
Probiotic bacteria strengthen the intestine by handling pollutants that penetrate the intestine, and digestive enzymes such as bromelain and papain help improve digestion processes. Probiotic bacteria can be found naturally in yogurt enriched with these bacteria, or you can purchase a probiotic supplement. Digestive enzymes are more difficult to get through food, but you can find still a small amount of them in pineapple and papaya, or purchase a high quality digestive enzyme.
In many cases there is a connection between skin problems or infections in the body and lack of friendly bacteria and digestive enzymes. Therefore they are recommended for those suffering from digestive problems. It is best to consult a doctor regarding the type of bacteria and enzymes and their dose. Read here more about probiotics.
Handle Emotional Stress
Many digestive problems result from stress in your life. Women especially suffer from it, and one of the most common known disorders caused by stress is irritable bowel syndrome. Finding the causes of your stress and treating it will help regulate the digestion process in your body. You can relieve stress through therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga and the use of soothing essential oils like lavender or chamomile.
Change Eating Habits
Unhealthy food can overload the digestive system and cause various problems, but so the way we eat may affect the process. Changing your eating habits can improve any digestive problem which you are suffering from:
– Eat in a relaxed atmosphere without pressure.
– Concentrate on eating and avoid watching television at dinner. (I admit….I love to read a book while eating dinner..it help’s me eat slower)
– Chew your food 25-50 times before swallowing & put your fork down in between bites so you aren’t shoveling it in.
Find out if you have a Food Allergy/Sensitivity
In many cases, digestive problems result from a food allergy or sensitivity to it. It is recommended to remove some of the foods for a while and see the effect: dairy products, citrus fruits, shellfish, peanuts, nuts, chocolate, eggs, caffeine and fish. I recommend doing an “elimination diet”, which removing daily foods and then adding them gradually back, you can more easily locate food sensitivity. Food allergy, however, can be checked through medical tests.
Exercising helps to relieve stress and helps regulate digestion due to body movement. There are some amazing yoga poses that are wonderful for digestion. Combine in your exercise routine elements of cardio, strength and flexibility and feel the difference. Incorporating physical activities into your daily life is also one simple habit you can take to improve your wellness and overall health.
Have you seen changes in your digestion since taking a probiotic or digestive enzyme?
Stay Healthy my Friends,
Carrie A Groff
– Healthy, Fit & Barefoot!