Naturopathic medicine wisdom says that health begins in our gut. And certainly you’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat”. If you think about it, every part of our physical selves is derived from what we eat and drink. And, new research is showing that our gut bacteria have a strong influence on how our brains work – unbalanced gut bacteria can contribute to anxiety and depression!
This is why it’s so important to pay attention to our digestion – our health really does begin in our gut!
Every one of my patients gets quizzed about their digestion, regardless of what they come in for. Poor digestion, and digestive dysfunction (stemming from leaky gut) can contribute to many conditions beyond the digestive tract – headaches, rashes, asthma, joint pain and even mental emotional conditions can be the result of an imbalanced digestive process.
I tell my patients that we really shouldn’t hear from our food once we’ve eaten it – a meal should be enjoyed, and leave you with a satisfied feeling. Sure, a random belch or flatulence is normal – but if you’ve eaten and you feel bloated, have excess gas, get a headache or have bowel changes (diarrhea, constipation), then your digestion isn’t working properly!
Here are 5 easy ways to keep your digestion running smoothly and efficiently:
1. Eat real food
Processed foods with artificial sweeteners, colorings, emulsifiers, binders, etc are tough to digest – these are foreign chemicals that our bodies don’t recognize and can’t digest. Stick with real foods like veggies, fruits, lean meats, nuts and seeds!
2. Minimize fluids with meals
Keep your fluid intake to less than 5 ounces during and for an hour after meals – too much fluid dilutes your gastric enzymes, slowing digestion down. You need the enzymes in your gut to tear the food down. Drinking a lot of fluids while eating is like spraying water on a fire you’re trying to start!
3. Identify food intolerances
Just because it’s a food, doesn’t mean your body likes it. If you feel excessively lethargic, get a headache, have joint pain, or develop other symptoms after eating a food you probably have some type of food intolerance. Fortunately we can test for food intolerances at our clinic with an easy finger stick for 96 different foods!
4. Slow down
Just like granny said, sit down, chew your food and take your time. Eating in a rushed, anxious state is a sure fire way to cause digestive problems. Make time to eat without being rushed.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that you can take as a supplement. We have trillions of bacterial cells, and it’s a constant battle of balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in our gut. Taking a probiotic ensures that you’ve got plenty of the good guys to keep the bad guys from causing you problems.
If these don’t work for you, please come see me at the clinic – getting to the cause of digestion problems is important – your overall health depends on it!
If you feel that your health could benefit from more assistance than just these tips, Natural Health Associates offers several services you may benefit from.
Call our office at 970-372-1277 and see how we can help you.