There’s no doubt about it, when our digestive health is compromised it can have a negative impact on our entire day. From feeling nauseous or irregular to bloated or gassy, our digestive tract’s health can make for a good or bad day.
But that’s not all, your digestive health also plays a vital role in whether or not your body is absorbing the essential nutrients it needs. There are numerous nutrients required for optimal health. It matters very little if we eat all the healthiest foods, when they are not able to be absorbed into our bodies that are in desperate need of these vitamins and minerals.
Problems with Digestion?
There are other signs you must be aware of when it comes to knowing the true state of your digestive health.
What Hurts Your Digestive Health
There are a number of reasons why our digestive health becomes compromised; however a few seem to rank as the biggest culprits.
1. Highly processed foods
Regular, long-term consumption of highly processed foods can wreak havoc on the normal functions of the digestive tract. From preservatives and additives to dyes and artificial sweeteners, much of the ingredients in processed foods are not good for our digestive health. Many of these processed foods are devoid of soluble fiber. This fiber generally promotes prebiotic which feeds the ‘friendly’ bacteria in the gut. Consuming processed foods actually does the opposite and encourages the growth of the harmful bacteria in the gut. Additionally, according to the Huffington Post, these foods run quickly through the digestive system which leads to gassiness, bloating and cramps.
2. Antibiotic use
While antibiotics are essential and life-saving in most cases, they can cause problems in the digestive tract. Antibiotics are designed to kill off the bad bacteria causing us to be ill. Unfortunately they are unable to discriminate and also destroy the good bacteria leaving the gut in disarray.
3. Pasteurized Dairy
These are usually highly processed with added chemicals and devoid of nutrients despite what advertising claims. Many people are also sensitive or even allergic to dairy causing problems in the digestive tract. According to Dr. Willet,
4. Wheat and Gluten
Many are intolerant of gluten and still others have sensitivity to it. When consumed, it can cause many of the symptoms of compromised digestive health. With today’s highly refined wheat products, the amount of gluten it contains is high.
This gluten is not completely broken down when we eat and what remains forms a large ‘lump’ of sticky food, according to the Gerson Institute. This mass lines the intestinal tract prohibiting absorption of needed nutrients. But that’s not all, the body begins to ‘attack’ the mass and the lining of the intestines causing a number of health issues from asthma to depression.
If you suspect your digestive health is not as good as it should be, begin to take simple steps to change it today.
Improve Your Digestive Health
1. Eat plenty of vegetables.
This will provide the roughage needed to ‘cleanse’ your digestive tract regularly leaving it in prime condition to absorb essential nutrients.
2. Drink enough water daily.
Be sure to consume adequate amounts of water every day. To determine how much you should drink, take your weight and divide it by 2. (120 lbs. divided by 2 is 60 lbs.) Drink this amount in ounces of water daily (60 ounces in this example.)
3. Get enough sleep.
Getting proper sleep is often overlooked in our quest for optimal health. The average adult should get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Melatonin is produced when we sleep. Melatonin and the hormone prolactin are secreted during the night. Working together these hormones stimulate a reaction that thins out micro flora to restore a healthy balance in the gut.
4. Chew your food.
Mom was right, chew your food. With the fast pace of today’s society we often rush through meals and aren’t doing the simple task of chewing properly. When food is properly chewed the digestive tract is better able to break it down and absorb needed nutrients.
5. Take probiotics.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that cultivate a healthy environment in your stomach. Probiotic supplements are becoming very popular now because it replenishes your gut with good bacteria. Having a strong gut health improves digestion and boosts your immune system. So if you're looking for the right supplement to take, I recommend this one (full disclosure I will get commission
Joe Sans owns and operates Tension Toner.