Your digestive system is a very complex and important part of your body, and maintaining it properly should be top priority. Think of the digestive system it as a power station in the midst of all other running systems in your body – taking care of it can impact, positively or negatively, everything else. if you have a poorly functioning digestive system, you have a poorly functioning self! So how do we service and maintain one of mother nature’s most impressive yet often misunderstood systems? Let’s start with eliminating what we know is bad for us: Try to avoid the foods that have bad effects on the digestive system such as alcohol, coffee, chocolates and deep fried food. Each of these examples are acceptable in occasional small amounts, but overdoing any of them and you may end up with acid reflux or ulcers, high cholesterol, and over time, obesity. Keep in mind that trashy, highly processed foods are much more difficult for the digestive system to break down, and don’t provide enough nutrients for proper health. These types of foods also contribute greatly to inflammations in the body which contribute to chronic illness. The more natural, fresh food you eat, the more likely your digestive system will perform to keep your body running smoothly and absorbing all essential nutrients at it’s optimum. Now that we know what to avoid, let’s focus on what will no doubt strengthen and improve our digestive system:
- Dietary fibre plays a very important role in the development of a strong and healthy digestive system. Foods such as leafy greens and whole grains are essential to keep things moving in the digestive tract. These act like a broom for you internal organs of digestion. As well as this they help to reduce bad cholesterol and also play a role in the stabilization of blood sugar levels and therefore proper and sustained energy production.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep that fibre moving! Liquids are vital to strengthening your digestive system, and help prevent constipation. Say no to processed liquids such as soda and artificial fruit juices, and instead choose natural juices and herbal teas.
- Fruits are rich in soluble fibre, which is known to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Apples, pears and raspberries are among the best fruits to eat in terms of fibre, and each serving provides about 4 to 5 grams.
- Probiotics are actually your friend. Whether it’s from regular yogurt, or fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, eating foods rich in friendly bacteria called probiotics can help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Many superfood concentrates have these in them now to ensure an optimum uptake.
- By eating as much raw living and activated food as possible you are ensuring you are getting plenty of enzymes. Some common ones are; protease, papain, amylase, lactase etc. These little substances are what get the proper digestive process underway and allow for the chemicals in food to be broken down efficiently and therefore absorbed to best effect.
Remember to eat slowly, and try to avoid going back for second servings. Also, try to eat smaller portions. The more food you put into your digestive system, the harder your digestive system will have to work to break down and process that food. Stick to foods that are high in fibre and nutrients. Remember probiotics – such as cottage cheese or yogurt – also places quality bacteria into your digestive system, helping to improve the functionality of your intestines. Raw foods, such as veggies and nuts, also aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Creating and maintaining a healthy digestive system is not difficult, and the key is using common sense in your diet and daily habits. If you care enough to pay attention, eat and drink the right things and stay active, you shouldn’t have a problem. But if you don’t do these things, your digestive system will let you know soon enough!
Until next time, be well.
Craig Hitchens – Natural Health Practitioner
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