6 Simple Ways to Support your Digestion
Have you recently started incorporating healthy choices into your diet? Trading in processed for whole, eliminating allergens, cutting down on refined sugar, etc.? If so, congratulations! You’ve made a wonderful choice and are headed in the right direction towards a happier, healthier you. If you have noticed nothing but positive effects, wonderful. However, for many people it isn’t that simple. Far too many of us suffer from compromised digestive systems, and we may not even know about it! An unhappy gut can show its face in symptoms such as bloating, acne, gas, fatigue, sluggishness, you name it. Before I pursued my education in nutrition, this was the strangest concept to me, as well as many others around me. Why does this happen? What are we doing wrong? Well readers, allow me to share a little valuable insight on this matter.
To put it simply, exercise and a healthy diet won’t necessarily fix your digestive issues, if the problem is more rooted. What do I mean by rooted? Look at it this way; our body does not simply send the food we eat down a chute that is our gastrointestinal tract and hope for the best. Digestion involves a complex system of enzymes, hormones, movements, cycles and fluids that break down the food we ingest into tiny molecules that our body can absorb and use. End products end up being individual vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids that our cells feed off of to keep us thriving and functioning the way we are supposed to. Most of our immune system lies in our digestive tract, gut health is directly related to cardiovascular health, and at least 80% of serotonin is made by gut bacteria! (for those of you that didn’t know, we NEED a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut). Crazy, isn’t it?
You kind of get the picture, right? Consuming enough nutrients is vital to our health, but a healthy diet means nothing if our gut integrity is compromised to the point where we aren’t even absorbing these nutrients. So what causes malabsorption? The possibilities are seemingly endless, but I’ll tell you a few of the more common reasons. Invasive abdominal surgeries, low stomach acid, antibiotics, celiac and Crohn’s disease, impaired liver/gallbladder/pancreas, parasites, toxins, certain medications, low enzyme activity, and so much more.
Surely I could give a week long lecture about the reasoning behind the issues listed above, but let’s talk about a few simple ways you can help your body absorb beneficial nutrients!
Apple Cider Vinegar! – prevents intestinal putrefaction of food which is often the cause of gas and bloating, helps increase stomach acid which will help break down proteins, helps neutralize toxins
Fermented foods! – high enzyme activity, helps restore healthy gut flora/bacteria
Soaked your grains/nuts/legumes! – these foods can be hard to digest due to a compound in them called phytic acid. Soaking in warm water for a few hours releases phytic acid and makes these nutritious foods much more digestible!
Probiotics! – wonderful for normalizing bowel movements, great for metabolism, help balance friendly gut bacteria (different strains are beneficial in different health scenarios, do your research and talk to a nutritionist!)
Glutamine! – helps heal intestinal tract! Great for IBS and stomach ulcers.
Digestive Enzymes! – enzyme deficiencies are incredibly common, and only increase in likelihood with age! A good digestive enzyme will greatly help your body with nutrient absorption and breakdown of foods.
Healing the gut is a fantastic place to start when working with the root cause of many other health issues. Worried about your gut integrity? You’re not alone! Tell us all about it, and AMIE will be sure to add L-glutamine to your customized blend! Your gut will thank you for it!