Four Steps to Improving Your Digestion

  • 3 May 2011
  • Reading time 5 mins
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Tune up your digestion by following these steps which can help relieve common digestive problems

Proper digestion

Gas and bloating are indications that you are not digesting your food adequately. The first vital stage of digestion is to chew your food thoroughly. Aim to have reduced your mouthful to liquid mush before you swallow. This allows the digestive enzymes a greater surface area to work and do their job properly. Some people have a lack of, or reduction of digestive enzymes resulting in food not being properly broken down. Inefficient digestion of food in the intestines can result in malabsorption, bacterial imbalance, diarrhoea and indigestion. By taking plant enzyme formulas, the enzymes in the digestive tract can function more efficiently, helping to normalise digestion, often resulting in the relief of IBS symptoms.

Restore gut bacteria

Quite a significant amount of research has pointed to an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut as a possible cause of IBS, which is possibly why many have found relief by taking certain antibiotics. However, antibiotics are also implicated as a possible trigger of IBS because they work by killing all bacteria, including the friendly bacteria – which play an integral part in gut health. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. A systematic review [1] of the efficacy of probiotics in IBS has found that they are significantly effective. Probiotics have a natural antibiotic effect without eradicating species that keep you healthy.

To promote the good bacteria in your gut, reduce your intake of sugar and refined foods – these encourage bad bacteria to proliferate. Eat plenty of fibre-rich fruits, vegetables and some live natural yoghurt – these help to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. I would also recommend a good quality probiotic supplement to help restore levels.

Gut healing and repair

The gut is a very sensitive organ and if you’re not digesting adequately, have an imbalance of bacteria or are eating too many irritating foods, the gut lining is prone to becoming inflamed and ‘leaky’. It is essential to restore balance before healing and repair can take place. There are a number of substances that will aggravate a leaky gut by causing irritation to the delicate lining. The most important to avoid are alcohol, caffeine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen, antacids, food additives and spicy foods. The preferred &......

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