What is the most important system in our bodies to maximise health and wellbeing?



The digestive system can be a breeding ground for poor health and disease. Many common health concerns can be alleviated when balance is restored to this vital organ that is often neglected and abused. The digestive system is a delicate ecosystem of beneficial bacteria which when disturbed contributes to larger health concerns.

Suppressed immunity, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, acne, eczema, food intolerances, arthritis, behavioral and learning disorders, autism, migraines and certain cancers can all be linked to poor digestive function.

Once the delicate bacterial balance is disturbed through antibiotic use, poor diet and lifestyle, a cascade of problems can occur. The digestive tract lining becomes damaged causing reabsorption of chemicals into the blood supply which contribute to the above illnesses in many different ways.

The first remedy to correct the imbalance is to replace the beneficial bacteria commonly known as acidophilus. This can be achieved through supplementation or consuming natural acidophilus yogurt. It is wise to begin with supplemental acidophilus as the levels of bacteria are much higher than in yoghurt. Once symptoms improve then levels can be maintained by consuming naturally fermented foods. An increasingly popular way to replace and maintain the healthy bacteria is through fermenting vegetables such as kimchi or sauerkraut. New research is demonstrating the importance of beneficial bacteria in reducing allergies and improving immune function, treating behavioral conditions and improving attention in children.

The next step is to increase the dietary fibre intake through consuming fruits and vegetables, whole grains and brown rice. A simple way to increase the fibre intake is by supplementing with concentrated fibres such as oat bran or psyllium husks which are high in soluble fibre and bulk the stools. There are two beneficial side effects of increased fibre. One is balancing of blood sugar which assists in treating and avoiding diabetes, and secondly is fibre binds to fat in meals assisting in weight loss. It is important to aim for two consistent bowel movements per day to ensure the correct elimination of wastes.

The final treatment needed is to stimulate the digestive processes. Many digestive acids and enzymes assist in the healthy breakdown of foods consumed. As we age these digestive secretions are reduced leading to symptoms of bloating, flatulence and heartburn. Digestive secretions can be stimulated by taking bitter substances prior to meals such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or tamarind tea. Another tip is to ensure you are in a relaxed state of mind when eating as stress inhibits many of the digestive processes. It is a natural phenomenon from our evolution that the digestive system shuts down when we are stressed and allocates energy to survival.

With a healthy, balanced digestive system you set the stage for building health and wellbeing. Without it, your health will always be a challenge as a healthy digestive system is a fundamental health requirement.



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