Digestive health is easily one of the most critical functions of the human body. Some of the oldest medicinal systems in the world have focused on digestion as one of the most significant factors that influence and shapes overall health and wellbeing.
Over time, study results have proven the fact that there is a distinct link between digestive health and both physical and mental wellbeing. Some holistic health practitioners also believe that specific diseases and all imbalances are direct results of digestive issues and improperly balanced diets. In Ayurvedic medicine, there are particular herbs for digestion that are given to help patients heal their digestive tract and strengthen it. Often, dietary therapies and herbs are highly successful, which has given it validity in the modern nutritional world.
While modern medicine is very different from ancient practices, holistic healing for the gut has been validated through testing and research. Once people began to understand the importance of digestive health, a trend for organic, unprocessed, and whole foods took off. It is true that eating healthy food is critical to health. However, there is another part of the equation that is necessary for your physical and mental health, and that is digestion.
Even if you consume healthy foods, it is your digestion system that determines your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and process foods. It is crucial that your body can absorb the nutrients it needs from the food you eat.
Healthy Digestion is More Complicated Than You May Think
The truth is that many people are consuming nutrients that their body is not entirely absorbing because they have some deficient digestion or an underlying digestive problem. Many people mistakenly believe that when they eat food, their body is getting the nutrients listed in the nutrition facts. While that is a common belief, it is unfortunately not true.
When you eat food, your body is not absorbing all the nutrients unless your digestive system is operating at its best. For a lot of people, especially if they have digestive issues, half or less of the nutrients being consumed are being absorbed. The problem of unhealthy digestion has continued to grow as complacent lifestyles, and unhealthy food has become the norm.
The significant rise of gluten intolerance cases has caught the attention of medical practitioners, and many are looking into the digestion as a cause of gluten intolerance.
As our society continues to understand and see a relationship between food and health, there has been an active push to blame certain foods for being the problem with our health. The truth is that specific food items, like wheat, may not be the actual villain. Instead, digestion may be the real culprit.
The prevalence of people who have a gluten intolerance is massive. Indeed, it is an epidemic at this point. Even more alarming is that the percentage of people who have a medically diagnosed allergy to gluten or wheat is small, but the number of people who are unable to tolerate gluten is large.
For people who have Celiac disease, an allergy to gluten, it is life-threatening to eat gluten or wheat products. For everyone else, gluten intolerance symptoms range from digestive issues and another discomfort that ranges from mild to severe. As more research is done on gluten intolerance, it is becoming more evident that undiagnosed digestion issues are to blame for symptoms that look like gluten intolerance.
Healing your gut is a possibility, and many people have found that their random symptoms of bloating, dizziness, headaches, and pain got better and went away when they were able to improve digestion. It is essential to understand that there are some people who legitimately have wheat or gluten allergies and sensitivities; however, the tremendous number of people with gluten intolerance is misguided by people who have undiagnosed digestive problems.
How Does Digestion Work?
Digestion is a complicated process that many people don’t understand, but it is essential to your health to understand the digestive process. If you have knowledge about digestion, you are able to pinpoint the different lifestyle choices or foods that support healthy digestion, and what harms it.
The first step of digestion begins in your mouth while you are chewing on food. Your saliva is packed with digestive enzymes that start the process of breaking down the food you are eating. After you swallow your food, it travels to your stomach. When the food arrives, your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid and other enzymes to help break down your food even further.
For people who drink a lot of liquid while eating, digestive issues may exist during this step. For people who take a couple of sips, there is no issue, but a lot of people drink too much during meals, and that liquid dilutes the acid and enzymes in your stomach. If the food in your stomach doesn’t break down properly, it enters your intestines without being broken down enough, and that is the culprit for several digestive issues. If you find yourself struggling with gas, nutrient deficiencies, or shooting pains after you eat, your body may be fighting to release food that has not been adequately digested.
While there are Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic doctors who suggest waiting to drink for at least two hours after eating, that is an exceptionally hard practice to follow, so thirty minutes to an hour is what is more reasonable.
After leaving your stomach, your food enters your intestines and sends a message to your pancreas to send enzymes that help break your food down even further. Healthy intestines are full of helpful bacteria and various microorganisms that work with the pancreatic enzymes.
The bacteria in your intestines, also known as intestinal flora or probiotics, are delicate but also resilient. If you practice healthy eating habits, the delicate balance maintains very well. Unfortunately, the epidemic-sized number of people with digestive issues is proof that our habits are destroying the symbiosis in our intestines.
Habits That Hurt Gut Health
There are several habits, most of them seemingly innocent or even healthy, that disrupt the digestive process and cause issues. They include:
- Not chewing food thoroughly enough,
- Drinking too much liquid during meals,
- Taking prescription antibiotics,
- Consuming raw and cold foods, or juicing too much,
- Eating too much sugar; and,
- Drinking artificial alkaline water.
If you find yourself struggling, there are several natural remedies for digestion health. Here is a list of 5 of them.
Natural Remedies for Digestive Health
There are many remedies for natural health, some of them can be practiced at home while others need the guidance of a trained professional. Here is a list of 10 things you can do to help heal your body.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is often used to help cure digestive issues. There are many different treatments for digestion issues, depending on what is causing them, and a professional acupuncture practitioner can help.
Cupping on Stomach
Cupping on stomach is another form of TCM that proves to be particularly good at healing digestive issues. Cupping is meant to be relaxing and stress-relieving, while also opening up the flow of energy to encourage healthy digestion.
Chew Your Food Properly
Since digestion begins in your mouth, it is especially important to start your digestive process with healthy chewing. The recommendation is at least twenty chews per bit, which eases the workload of the rest of your digestive system.
Eat Real Food
Try to avoid processed and fast foods as much as possible. Instead, try to make most of your meals whole and fresh.
Consume Fermented and Cultured Foods
Foods that are fermented are loaded with good bacteria, which helps your intestines regenerate the good bacteria. If you can consume a variety of cultured or fermented foods, your digestive system will be even stronger. Kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi are examples of food that can help rebuild your digestive tract.
Dehydration is a serious issue for many people. If you struggle with drinking water, you can add fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar to your drink for added health benefits. Also, herbal teas like peppermint, fenugreek, and ginger are particularly suitable for digestion.
The adverse effects of stress are vast. While most people understand that stress affects their mind, they don’t realize the significant impact it has on your body as well. Finding ways to de-stress can help with digestion.
Try a Detox
Gentle detoxes practiced regularly, are useful for helping reset your digestive system.
Take Probiotics Daily
Probiotics are offered as dietary supplements and are excellent for restoring the good bacteria in your intestines.
Learn to Listen to Your Body
It is easy to get swept away in all the dieting fads that surround you. Those trends do work for some people, but they also don’t work for many others. Instead of jumping on board, it is better for your body if you spend time learning your own body, so you can create your own healthy lifestyle, which serves your body well.
Your digestive health is vital. It surprises a lot of people to find out that the intestines house a large part of our nervous system. Over 90 percent of your serotonin is produced in your gut, and so is fifty percent of dopamine. Scientists have discovered thirty neurotransmitters in the intestines that match the ones in your brain. Imbalanced digestion issues interfere with the neurotransmitters that regulate stress, sleep, mental clarity, and mood.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn all about your digestion system and how to help it operate at its best capability. The brain in your stomach depends on you.