Healthy Gut, Healthy You

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Are you constantly being challenged when it comes to your digestion? Do you deal with gas, bloat, lethargy, constipation or diarrhea after you’ve eaten? These are often signs that there’s some dysfunction in the gut.

A slow-moving digestive system means that your body isn’t absorbing any nutrients, which can result in illnesses and degenerative diseases. So, why not take some preventive measures and take on natural and simple rituals daily.

I have definitely noticed an improvement in my digestive health since I started to become more conscious of what I was putting in my body and in what state of mind I was in when I was putting that food in my body. Everything in our individual whole-ness is interconnected, it only makes sense that how we live, eat, and think affects our ability to be healthy.

First thing in the AM, drink a tall glass of warm lemon water. Not only does the fresh squeezed lemon awaken your senses but it also stimulates your stomach to secrete stomach acid, which helps break down your food. It’s important to get the proper digestive flow started in the morning so that you are supported throughout the day.

Get going:

Chew your food. This one is part of my philosophy and a practice that takes mindfulness and patience. Chewing is extremely important because it’s the first step in the digestive process. It begins in the mouth when the teeth chomp on that food that the enzymes start to help you digest that food.

Eat in a parasympathetic state. In other words, relaxing and enjoying your food helps you to digest and assimilate you’re meal. When you’re in a sympathetic state, your body goes in stress mode and stops digesting.

Eat real. None of the garbage that has an inflammatory effect wrecking havoc to your gut flora and digestion. These include preserved and refined foods, sugars, gluten (if you’re sensitive to it), pasteurized dairy and conventional raised meats.

Eat fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi and beverages like kefir, and rejuvelac all contain enzymes and probiotics to help enhance your digestion and absorb your vitamins and minerals. Eating plenty of these or even taking a high quality supplement helps to balance your gut flora.

Take digestive enzymes or bitters. There are three main digestive enzymes that help in the chemical breakdown of food. Amylase enzymes break down carbohydrates, protease break down protein and lipase breaks down fat.  Other enzymes that are helpful are papain and bromelain, derived from papaya and pineapple. Also, consider taking HCL (hydrochloric acid, AKA stomach acid) with enzymes. Stomach acid blends our food into smaller components. Most people think that heart burn comes from too much acid in the system but in reality it’s the opposite. The stomach tends to secrete less stomach acid and with age it becomes harder to even produce it. Bitters is an herbal extract that increases the secretion of digestive enzymes and helps to breakdown proteins into smaller and absorbable molecules. Taken daily helps to eliminate symptoms of poor digestion like gas, bloating, indigestion, and allergies.   

Bone broth. This nutrient dense and healing liquid gold is essential to healing the digestive tract from damage and inflammation. Bone broth is rich in gelatin and amino acids that improve nutrient absorption.

Exercise. Moving the body helps food go down the digestive tract. Low impact movement like walking is very beneficial. Twisting poses in yoga while deeply inhaling and exhaling help massage the internal organs, easing digestion.

Ayurvedic stomach massage. Breathe deeply while you lay on your back using a natural oil to gently massage your abdomen clockwise in big circles starting from below the navel and around into smaller circles until you reach your navel. This healing stomach massage breaks up matter so that it can move around the digestive tract smoothly while also helping to release stress and tension.