How Lifestyle Changes Can Positively Affect Your Gut Health
Problems with the digestive system are amongst the most common health issues people face today. Food intolerances, constipation, needing lots of toilet paper, gassy or lots of “wind”, burning sensation in the esophagus, pain or discomfort are common problems people suffer from.
Common causes for an upset or malfunctioning digestive system are eating “junk” food or food with preservatives, artificial colourings, flavours, additives, MSG (mono-sodium glutamate, also called “Ajinomoto”), pesticides (such as glyphosate), herbicides etc. Eating too fast, too late in the evening, too big portions or eating while working / watching TV / using your mobile phone can also cause digestive issues. High levels of stress prevent the body from digesting food as the body stays in a fight-or-flight mode, ready to defend you against possible attacks.
Eating meat or drinking milk from animals that were treated with antibiotics or frequent use of antibiotics can also mess with the climate in your gut – healthy bacteria should be present as they form an integral part of your digestive system, but antibiotics kill all bacteria – the good and the bad ones alike. Eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods on a regular basis (a little bit every day is better than one big portion once in a while) help to restore the “good” bacteria in your gut.
People suffering from reflux or a burning sensation in the stomach may find some relief by avoiding ice cold beverages. Chew your food well, eat slowly and regularly, and avoid large portions.
If you consume coffee, cigarettes or alcohol on a regular basis you may want to try reducing the amount or the frequency. If you drink your coffee black or espresso, try having it with a plant-based milk. Have a juice with ginger to wake you up or to beat the after-lunch-low. Skip your second drink for a kombucha or a fresh lemonade. Small changes on a daily basis can have a really big impact. Try it for a week or two and see how your body feels.
What does constipation actually mean? It means you go to the toilet once in 3 days or less or you need coffee or other remedies to pass motion. What can you do to help improve and speed up your digestion? Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, including salad. The texture of lettuce will help to clean your small intestine naturally. Eat whole grains / flours rather than white flour or polished rice as fibers are needed to help things moving in your gut.
Make sure you drink enough water – this means depending on your height and weight at least 1.5l of mineral water (not juice, coffee, black tea, soda, milo or other beverages). Extra tip: to add some minerals to your water you can sprinkle 3-4 grains (not a pinch!) of Himalaya rock salt in 1l of water.
Regular exercise is essential as well – even brisk walking is enough to speed up your digestive system. Yoga with lots of twisting moves is another great way to activate your digestive system.
Reducing stress factors from your work environment or resolving interpersonal conflicts can also help to improve your digestive system. This is particularly important if you are on a relatively healthy diet, but suffer from an unhappy gut. Lack of sleep is another cause for digestive problems.
For more specific advice or what natural remedies are suitable for your individual health situation please contact your naturopath or holistic health practitioner.
Panakaya | Jennifer
8 April 2019