Gut health is a naturopaths favourite topic, and for good reason. The number one lesson we had drummed into us during studies was that our health is only ever as goos as our gut health. Today, I am sharing how to support your digestion with 10 easy tips, and some that you have have never considered.
About 15 years ago I traveled to India, and like many enthused travellers, paid the price for years to come. What started as an acute and severe case of food poisoning ended up as chronic inflammation of the gut and took years to heal. These days, my gut health is in good shape, but when I fail to employ the tips below- particularly stress management and probiotics-I notice a shift in my digestion.
I use the Imbibe Beauty Renewal Probiotics, and have been for the past 5 months. I started using them to assist me through the final trimester of pregnancy and birth (mostly for babies benefit), but have continued for 3 main reasons.
- My skin glows and feels great. I have never suffered from acne but my skin tends to be dry and flakey- especially on my face and scalp. Since taking the probiotics, my skin glows and my scalp no longer itches. Yay!
- My digestion is better than ever. IN particular, I don’t get gassy off certain foods like I did before; I‘m looking at you broccoli, cauliflower and curry.
- They taste incredible. For someone who only drinks water, I look forward to taking them every day, making compliance a breeze. It’s like healthy cordial- but POMEGRANATE flavour.
Neither of these things should come as a surprise. The beauty Renewal Probiotics are formulated by microbiologists to create good gut health and glowy skin, specifically assisting in skin hydration- and folks, thats just what they did. You can use my code PP15 for 15% off, and if you want to read all the wonderful reviews head to the bottom of this page.
If, perhaps, you’re just wanting to know how to boost your immune system and gut health really doesn’t concern you right now because, lets be honest- all that matters to you is COVID-19, I get it. Besides digesting our food, our guts starring role is in helping to regulate the immune system and preventing pathogenic invasion.
Within our gut lies a tremendous portion of our immune system, located in the gastrointestinal associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) and microbiome, containing trillions of bacteria. The health of our gut, microbiome and these bacteria affects nutrient assimilation, immune function and many systematic functions (some listed below).
The importance of having good gut health.
Seems obvious, right? We want good gut health so we digest our food well, and don’t have bloating. True- but gut health is connected to so much more, such as;
- Mood disorders and feelings related to depression and anxiety
- Skin conditions like eczema and acne,
- Poor sleep
- Poor immune function
- Menstrual difficulties, including premenstrual syndrome
- Widespread food intolerances
And so much more. The list of health conditions that the gut is not implicated in would be far smaller and learning how to support your digestion TODAY could be one of the best things you ever do for your health.
Please note, the below tips are general ideas to help you if you suffer from mild digestive symptoms. If you suffer from severe digestive complaints or disease, you need to seek out the help of a skilled health care practitioner.
10 tips for how to support your digestion
Learn to manage your stress.
My favourite tip in how to support your digestion because it can be free and available to almost anyone. Reducing the production of stress hormones can be the missing link to finding better health, and one of the quickest ways to get immediate results.
Ever eaten a meal while feeling extremely upset and felt like your stomach was in knots afterwards?
When we are in a state of stress, our body literally shuts off the pathways needed to digest food. Stress is a primal state designed to avoid immediate danger (like running away from a predator) . Digestion is a bodily function that becomes obviously unnecessary in this state. In our modern day way of living, however, our stress response has become chronic and the effect it has on our digestive system is chronic, too.
So find something. Be it yoga, meditation, gardening, bush walking, singing, painting, cooking or whatever else makes you feel calm amongst the chaos. Just do it. And do it DAILY.
Take a probiotic
There are very few supplements that i would say are appropriate for everyone, but a probiotic is generally one of them.
Again, we can put it down to our modern way of living.
Humans live differently now days.
We don’t live on the land anymore, exposed to a plethora of different bacteria from the dirt we sat on, slept on, dug up or didn’t remove from our veggies.
Our water no longer comes from the running stream, but from the tap. Complete with chlorine, fluoride, antibiotics and a mixture of other undesirables.
We use sanitisers, antibacterial soaps, bleach and other chemicals to clean and disinfect (and even if WE don’t, we are still exposed to them).
All of this has an effect on our microbiome, the mass of microbes that live within our body including our gut. You’re wondering how to support digestion with nutrition? Probiotics, of course.
I’m having great results with this one, and my code is PP15 for the online store.
Eat a wide variety of plants
If you eat the same fruit and veg every week, mix it up. Providing your body with a large variety of plant foods means delivering a larger variety of micronutrients- and that is good for everything. Micronutrients are the backbone to cell function and healing, immunity, digestive function and microbiome health and every other bodily function. We are literally what we eat (and assimilate). Plant diversity can lead to microbiome diversity, which is important for a healthy gut.
Next time you’re grocery shopping, choose a new veg, a fruit you rarely eat or try adding fresh herbs to more meals.
Work on your posture
The way we stand, sit and exercise affects our digestion. Poor posture can alter the bodily signals necessary for optimal digestion, and create problematic symptoms. Luckily, in most cases, posture is easy to correct with diligence. Yoga can be a great way to connect with how your body stands in space, and improve posture. Seeking professional help- like that from an osteopath- might be necessary for some.
Drink less alcohol
Alcohol is inflammatory by nature and negatively affects gut bacteria, leading to imbalances and contributing to poor gut health and depressed immunity. Simple. Drink less alcohol.
Chew your food properly
There is an old saying that goes something like “drink your food and chew your liquids’. Chewing, or mastication, is highly underrated and an easy way to improve digestion. If you tend to swallow your food seconds after its entered your mouth, this tip might be for you. Try chewing each bite a minimum of 50 times before swallowing, and notice if you feel differently after finishing your meal.
Mindfulness is a great way to connect with chewing. Sit down to meals with the intention of being present. Smell, chew, taste and enjoy your food. Easier said than done sometimes (especially with a young family) but can work wonders in how to support your digestion.
Ditch the fragrance
The chemical cocktail that makes up the fragrance found in your perfume, deodorant, cleaning products, hair care, lotions and candles are gut killers. Swapping fragranced products for those scented only with the real thing (or no smell at all) is a a powerful health booster. Manufacturing laws don’t require products to list exactly what fragrance is inside even though many fragrances are known carcinogens.
Identify food intolerances and avoid them
It can be to easy to follow the newest health food fad, and think you’re doing yourself a favour. The problem with that is it is only doing your good is that food works for YOU. Listen to your body, above all else. Make a food/symptom diary. If it feels confusing, see a health care practitioner to help you through it.
Raw food, high carb, low carb, low fat, fermented food, healing broths, high protein and intermittent fasting all have something in common- they don’t work for everyone.
Heal your gut
If you’ve tried all the above steps and you still have no relief your gut might be in need of specific healing. At home, you can employ food as medicine- find a good book, and start reading. I love ‘Healing with whole foods’ by Paul Pitchford. If you need further assistance a skilled naturopath/nutritionist or Ayurvedic/traditional Chinese medicine practitioner can help you with nutritional or herbal therapy. So, that brings us to our last point.
Seek a health professional
This really cannot be compared to anything else. A skilled practitioner will help you identify personal health triggers and tailor a unique healing plan specific to your needs. Seeking the help of health practitioners can be costly and thus isn’t available to everyone. If it is within your means though, it should be your top priority.
I hope you enjoyed the 8 tips on how to improve your digesting. Leave any questions in the comments below, I’d love to answer them.