Tips for Digestive Health
How healthy is your digestive system?
If you’re like most people, it’s probably something you never really think about unless it is not working right!
Truth is, how well your digestive system functions is absolutely VITAL to your overall health, energy level, mood and body shape.
Stop Wasting Time & Money
You can take all the best vitamins and eat only organic, healthy food, but until your digestive system is working right YOU CAN USE ANY OF IT!
The digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing food as well as eliminating waste from the body.
If you have digestive problems of any sort, like:
- Acid reflux/GERD
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Then you can forget about being able to properly absorb vitamins, minerals or nutrients from your food. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, your energy will be zapped and you’ll feel mentally dull, unable to focus and even irritable. Most importantly, you are also setting the stage for disease.
Here’s what happens:
When the food you eat is not properly digested, it ferments (i.e. “gas!”), produces pathogenic bacteria and builds up on the walls of the intestines. Over time, this build up creates a “barrier” through which nutrients can not be absorbed and then sent to the blood stream and the rest of the body. This results in nutrient deficiencies and other symptoms of digestive dysfunction.
Are You Intoxicated?
A digestive problem is also a detoxification problem. Think of what would happen if you didn’t take the trash out for a few weeks. I’d call it “Yuck!”, but the more appropriate term is:”auto-intoxication”. Toxins and pathogenic bacteria produced by the undigested food accumulate in your muscles, joints and skin and cause:
- Premature aging
- Weight Gain
- Nutrient Deficiencies
- A general sense of “the blahs”
A Quick Way to Lose Weight!
In fact, the average person has between 7-20 pounds of old fecal material trapped in the colon, even if they are having one bowel movement per day!
Ideally, food should stay in your body between 18-24 hours. This is called “transit time” and it is the total time it takes for the food you eat to go from your mouth to your anus. Yet the average American has a transit time of anywhere from 65 to 100 hours!
…say hello to symptoms!
Top Causes of Digestive Problems
You might be wondering how the heck we could have gotten so off track. Here are some common reasons for digestive dysfunction:
- How you eat: Eating while stressed, rushing, multi-tasking and not chewing enough completely derail the digestive process.
- Too much sugar, flour, wheat, unfermented dairy, soy foods: In addition to their other shortcomings, these foods form an unhealthy layer of mucus in the body which acts as a barrier through which nutrients cannot be absorbed. They also greatly decrease transit time which then causes fermentation, gas, bloating, etc.
- Eating Fake, Artificial, Man-Made (or otherwise “Food-Not-Found-In-Nature”) You’ve probably heard me say it before, any food your body doesn’t recognize will cause distress and unwanted weight gain, symptoms, etc.
- Overeating: Eating too much either in general, or at one sitting overwhelms the body and prevents proper assimilation and elimination.
- Being emotionally or physically tired: It takes energy to run the digestive and elimination processes. Being sleep deprived, constantly “busy” and not taking regular time for rest, rejuvenation and fun suppresses the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which is responsible for digestion and elimination.
- Antibiotics: Drugs kill the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract which then allows pathogenic bacteria to proliferate. In addition, drugs tax the liver and deplete enzymes needed for proper digestion. This can lead to constipation and further health problems.
- Improper breathing: Notice your breathing during the day. Do you breathe shallowly, from the
neck and chest? Is it difficult for you to take a deep, full breath? Oxygen is required to run the digestive system (PNS) and peristalsis.
- Being dehydrated Approximately 70% of fecal matter is water so if you’re dehydrated you can forget about going to the bathroom! Please see my article Amy’s Top Tips for Staying Health and Hydrated, Part 1 for more information on water which you can find on my website www.therippleeffectdiet.com.
So What Do I Do?
Here are my top tips for correcting digestive problems and the essentials for getting your health and your weight back on track:
Amy’s Top Tips for Digestive Health
- Slow down! Don’t eat in a rush.
- Eat small meals frequently.
- Think like a train and chew, chew, chew!
- Do not overeat. Eat until you are about 80% full, leaving 20% for digestion.
- Don’t talk or get emotional during eating.
- Drink an adequate amount of water and drink primarily between meals so as to preserve digestive enzymes
- Regularly consume fiber-rich foods (organic, fresh veggies, cultured foods, ocean veggies, dark greens, fresh-ground, organic flaxseeds)
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, antacids, fake foods, chemicals and preservatives (autonomic-regulation disrupters)
- Never suppress the urge to go!
- Recolonize your GI tract after taking any medications/antibiotics
- Identify and avoid “allergic” foods
- Eat a varied diet/Rotate your foods
- Use only organic Celtic Sea salt, not table salt
- Eliminate unfermented dairy, sugar, flour and wheat products
- Get moving! (Digestion, absorption and elimination systems all work better when we exercise!)
- Regularly consume organic, unrefined coconut, olive, pumpkin seed flaxseed, evening primrose, borage and black currant seed oils
- Drink organic green, ginger and dandelion tea (sweetened with stevia) after meals to aid digestion
- Breathe! Watch your posture, stay flexible and keep your chest and ribcage open and mobile so you can take deep breaths as often as possible.
The road to good health and a great body is paved by a well-functioning digestive system!
Follow the rules of nature, let food be your medicine and incorporate the suggestions from my list of Top Tips for Digestive Health and you will be on your way to promoting good digestive function, which is the foundation of good health and well-being.
Amy Fournier Constantino is a recognized health and fitness expert. She is available for speaking
engagements, workshops, media opportunities, group exercise classes and private consultation. To learn more about Amy or to contact her.