The Comprehensive Guide to Digestive Health

When we talk about digestive health, it's normal to think about the negatives. Cramps, constipation or diarrhea have played some role in the majority of our lives. But, good digestive health is the pathway to prevent these from becoming a normal occurrence. Most digestive complications can be solved with a few lifestyle changes, meaning many of us are suffering for no reason. In this guide, we’ll take a detailed look at digestive health and how you can improve it today.

Why is Gut Health Important?

In recent years, nutritionists and the wider public are becoming increasingly aware of how important our gut is to our overall health. We derive vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the goods that we eat. These foods are broken down in the gut, allowing them to be absorbed into the bloodstream and ensuring all of that goodness gets to where it needs to throughout the body. The only way for this process to run smoothly is if our gut has a healthy balance of bacteria and immune cells to work in harmony.

If our digestive system doesn’t have the right labels of healthy bacteria, it opens the space for bad bacteria to thrive. Your body is less likely to be able to absorb all of the nutrients that it needs. This can also lead to an inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels, confusing the body when it comes to hunger and meaning that it clings on to body fat. On top of this, your gut is responsible for producing the hormone serotonin, which is vital for mood boosts and a happy demeanor.

What Happens With Poor Gut Health Care?

Because your gut and digestion are so important and have a significant role within the body, it is normally very obvious when things are wrong. The signs of poor health here manifest themselves throughout the body causing issues such as:

  • IBS
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Issues with sleep
  • Skin rashes
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Thyroid issues
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 1 diabetes

Some of these complications can be severe - especially if left untreated for an extended period of time. And, because of the intrinsic link to your diet, are also easily changed or improved with different foods and lifestyle changes.

Things You Can Do to Improve Digestive Health

If you have noticed any of the signs above or have been told that your digestive system is struggling by your Dr, it’s time to take action. And, there are a number of natural ways to do this.

Reduce stress

The stress hormone, cortisol, is there to help during fight or flight situations. However, this is only supposed to be present for a short period of time. If we remain continuously stressed for an extended period of time, the hormone begins to have a detrimental impact on many bodily functions - including our gut's ability to digest foods. Research has shown that too much stress makes the intestinal barrier weaker, allowing gut bacteria to enter the body and causing inflammation.

Reducing your stress levels won’t just make everyday feel easier. It also allows your body to re-regulate itself and regenerate good bacteria. There are many ways to do this, including mindfulness and yoga. Getting outside into nature, reducing caffeine intake and spending time with loved ones are all simple ways to naturally reduce your cortisol levels.

Get Enough Sleep

When we sleep, our body regenerates all of the necessary balances in our bodies. This includes our hormones. If we get too little sleep, it doesn’t allow time for these necessary processes to occur. Some good bacteria found in the gut also dies off without the right amount of rest, allowing bad bacteria to flourish. This is particularly true if you experience broken sleep. Studies have shown that if we cannot rest our bodies for a solid 7-8 hours, we may experience tissue inflammation and changes in insulin sensitivity. Plus a lack of sleep can also lead to a leaky gut - as we mentioned above.

Falling asleep is something that many people find challenging. Try drinking a cup of herbal tea an hour before bed and using a tincture such as Sleep Formula to help relax your body into a state of calm.

Eat Slowly

We have little physical control over what happens to our food once it is in our digestive system. However, we are in control of how it enters. It is important to chew your food fully before swallowing. This allows your saliva to do its job of breaking down the initial structure and also kick starts your gut to begin it’s job. When we make food small enough,the gastric enzymes in the body can more easily break them down and support absorption into the bloodstream.

Take your time when eating. Many nutritionists recommend doing so without any distractions, such as the television or your mobile phone. Set time aside to eat with loved ones and enjoy the flavours and textures of your chosen foods in the mouth. These sensory experiences all help to support a natural digestive system.

Take a Probiotic

Adding a probiotic to your diet can provide food for the good bacteria in your gut to thrive on. They form part of the overall gut microbiome, helping you to get the very best out of every single meal. Brewers Yeast is an easy way to increase your probiotic intake. Simply blend with water or other drinks, including smoothies or juice, to make it a simple but effective addition to your day.

Here at Natural Health 4 Life, we pride ourselves in offering our knowledge and a wide range of highly effective natural solutions to your dietary needs. If you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of the team, please do get in contact with us here today.

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