The human gut is home to billions of micro-organisms, and the population of bacteria in the gut is ten times more than all the cells in the body combined.
Our gut flora plays a major role in our health and is responsible for regulating metabolism, protecting the body against infection and enhancing gastrointestinal functions.
Therefore, it’s important to have healthy gut flora for a healthy digestive system.
This post will examine :
- Superfoods that Aid Gut Health
- Herbs and Spices for Healthy digestion
- Boost Digestion Naturally
Bone broth contains immune-optimizing components which serve asbuilding blocks for gut healing. This is especially beneficial for those suffering with a leaky gut. One particular component that makes bone broth helpful for gut healing is gelatin. Gelatin is made up of hydrophilic colloid which attracts liquids, such as digestive juices. Gelatin also contains glucosamine, silicon, calcium and phosphorus which further promote a healthy gut.
Flax Seed Tea
Flax seeds contain soluble fiber, omega 3 fats and lignans. These components aid in lubricating and they also have an anti-inflammatory effect, making them beneficial for colon healing.
To make the tea, pour one tablespoon of flax seeds into 12 ounces of boiling water. Allow it to steep overnight and strain off the seeds before drinking.
Red cabbage contains L-glutamine amino acid which aids in healing the soft tissue lining of the intestines. Red cabbage is beneficial for people suffering from leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Coconut kefir contains beneficial bacteria that will recolonize your gut and promote hydration in your mucous membranes. It has beneficial yeasts that destroy pathogenic yeasts. It also works to purify, strengthen and clean the intestinal walls and keep it strong and healthy against any disease-causing pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli.
Coconut kefir has been found helpful in assimilating the nutrients in the gut while also enhancing the usage of B vitamins and other trace minerals.
The medicinal powers of moringa have been used for centuries in treating indigestion. Moringa is loaded with fiber which helps clean the intestines and also contains antibacterial components for killing off unwanted invaders that may adversely affect a healthy digestion.
Moringa is a powerhouse of isothiocyanates which serves as a natural antibiotic to help destroy H. pylori, which can cause stomach ulcers.By adding moringa to your diet, the less likely you are to suffer from gastritis and duodenal ulcers.
Oranges are packed with soluble fiber, that when fermented by the gut bacteria,has several health benefits. The process of fermenting soluble fiber in the gutproduces a byproduct called butyrate. This substance is known to act as an anti-inflammatory that helps the gut to work in a healthy manner.
The butyrate helps regulate the growth of cells in the gut lining. As a result, proper balance is achieved between the formation of new cells and the death of old cells in the lining of the gut.
Chia seeds are powerhouses of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. They provide a soothing effect that is beneficial for sufferers of gastrointestinal distress. They are also gluten free which makes them ideal for those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
In addition, chia seeds are high in dietary fiber which promotes bowel regularity. This fiber content also makes people feel full quicker. Once it reaches the stomach, it forms a gelatin-like substance that serves as a prebiotic for enhanced probiotic growth in the gut.
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Herbs and Spices For A Healthy Digestive System
Seventy percent of the body’s immune cells exist in the digestive tract. Therefore, it makes sense to keep the digestive system healthy so that your body can perform its critical immune functions continuously.
One of the best things you can do is eat healthy foods, which can include a variety of different herbs and spices. There are many herbs and spices that are excellent for improving gut health, including the following.
This is an adaptogenic herb which works in balancing the cortisol levels and in improving stomach acid production. Its ability to regulate cortisol levels is what makes this herb helpful for those people suffering from leaky gut symptoms, which can betriggered and exacerbated by stress.
Licorice root also helps maintain the mucosal lining in the stomach and duodenum. In addition this herb contains glycyrrhizic acid. This helps speed up the healing process of gastric ulcers.
Licorice root is also recommended by some health practitionersfor easing the side effects of laxatives.
The healing properties of ginger has been used for centuries and it is well-known by many for treating several digestive problems. It contains zingerones and gingerols which have anti-inflammatory properties.
If you are having issues with acne, eczema, psoriasis and any other skin problems, this can be a strong indication that you may have inflammation in your digestive tract.
Another benefit of ginger is that its fiber content functions as a prebiotic that encouragesthe growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Flatulence, constipation, bloating, stomach cramps and indigestion are just a few of the many digestive problems that can be relieved through the use of milk thistle. However, keep in mind that milk thistle tea should only be consumed in prescribed quantities.
Milk thistle has earned quite a reputation for improving bile circulation, repairing damaged cells and reducing liver inflammation. All these benefits greatly contribute to the improvement of a person’s overall digestive health.
In addition, milk thistle has demulcent properties that moisturize and soften mucous membranes. Thus, it calms the digestive system while also healing inflammation on the intestinal walls.
Some people swear by peppermint for digestive problems, whilst some health advocates do not recommend it.
Peppermint possesses antispasmodic and relaxant properties that have been found to help relieve gastrointestinal cramps and spasms. This muscle relaxation allows painful digestive gas to pass, giving relief from flatulence and bloating.
This herb has volatile oils that stimulate the gallbladder and enable it to release bile, which is needed for digesting fats.
The compounds present in peppermint tea have been found to improve the flow of bile to the liver. A moderate intake of peppermint tea also helps detoxify the liver. A healthy liver is crucial for keeping the digestive system functioning optimally.
However,as stated earlier, some do not recommend you take peppermint, especially if your problems are in the upper reaches of the digestive tract, such as with heartburn. Peppermint relaxes the sphincter muscle which closes off the stomach and allows acid to go back into the esophagus. Consequently, the symptoms of heartburn or GERD may worsen.
Yet you may have noticed, there are many OTC products that are designed to relieve heartburn and a major ingredient is peppermint. So, we’ll let you decide what works for you.
Cardamom is another spice that works for easing heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and intestinal spasming. It is also found effective in providing relief from constipation and intestinal gas.
Its strong aroma activates the taste and other sensory elements, increasing salivation and making for easier digestion. It improves the efficiency of enzyme secretion,further improving digestion. Cardamom is helpful if you consume it after having a heavy meal, although your gut will thank you more if you don’t overload it in the first place!
Coriander seeds possess aromatic flavors, brought aboutby its essential volatile oils and fatty acids. Dried coriander seeds have important fatty acids such as linoleic, petroselinic, palmitic and oleic acids. Together, these essential oils provide anti-flatulent and carminative effects that are beneficial for digestive health.
Coriander is also a good source of dietary fiber. A hundred grams of coriander seeds contain 41.9 grams of fiber. This dietary fiber adds bulk to the food by absorbing more water which leads to smoother bowel movements. The fiber composition of coriander also works together with flavonoid antioxidants to prevent the development of cancer in the colon mucosa.
Cumin contains a compound called thymol which is helpful in stimulating the glands for improved production of bile, acids and other enzymes. This results in improved digestion, and because cumin seeds are high in fiber content they are beneficial for those suffering with hemorrhoids.
Cumin seeds also have the ability to prevent gas formation in the gastrointestinal tract and help combat the symptoms of flatulence.
These herbs and spices are often used in medications to help with digestive health problems, both pharmaceutical and alternative medicine. However, a more natural and holistic approach is simply to utilize them more regularly in home-prepared meals.
Boost Digestion Naturally
In order for your body to feel energetic and revitalized, it is essential that you are able to absorb all of the nutrients from the food you eat. Proper digestion is a crucial part of this equation. Even though our bodies produce natural digestive enzymes, many people benefit from incorporating digestive enzyme supplements into their diet.
In our stomach, it is the digestive enzymes that have the task of ensuring that the food we consume is properly digested, and this process is vital for our survival. Once the minerals and nutrients are extracted from our food, they can be broken down and absorbed into our bloodstream, to then be used as needed to fuel our essential processes.
Taking digestive enzyme supplements can help your body break down proteins, lactose and other sugars as well as complex carbohydrates. These supplements can help some individuals complete their digestive process more efficiently.
Typically, the more abundant your enzymes, the better your body will be able to break down the food. There is however, a limit to how many enzymes your body can naturally produce and this is where some people find supplementing with digestive enzymes helpful.
Some people also have a hard time digesting dairy products, certain proteins from legumes or particular meats and fats. They may find they feel “less full” and experience less bloating or flatulence if they take digestive enzymes with their meals.
Eat Raw Foods In Your Diet
Eating healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables is another great way to increase your enzymes since they are abundant in these types of foods. However, in order to fully reap the benefits, you have to make sure that you eat them as raw as possible. Unfortunately, once vegetables and fruits undergo the cooking process, especially if they are heated to a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, they are practically devoid of all enzymes.
The majority of us have grown accustomed to cooking our foods and have strayed from eating a raw food diet. Regardless of whether we eat in restaurants or cook our food at home, we are not getting as many enzymes as we can from our foods. This is one of the reasons why many people can greatly benefit from including the use of digestive enzymes in their daily routines.
Not only will these enzymes help boost the body’s natural digestive processes, but they can also help to prevent a whole range of gastrointestinal problems.
Enzyme deficiencies have been linked to other problems including emotional and mental disorders and even some physical disabilities.
Of course the view of the medical community on the use of digestive enzymes is largely divided. There are some schools of thought who believe that over time the body may become overly dependent on these supplements, eventually stopping the production of natural enzymes.
Bromelain and Papaya
Two popular digestive enzymes are Bromelain, which is derived from pineapple, and Papaya extract. Both of these can be found at your local health food store. If you are interested in adding digestive enzymes to your supplement regime, it is recommended that you consult your doctor first, especially if you are taking medication.
It is important to rule out that your digestive troubles are not the result of some other underlying medical problem. Pregnant or lactating women are advised to consult with their obstetricians, midwives or family doctors prior to taking any supplements.
Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Neutralize Stomach Acid
It is believed that apple cider vinegar helps to balance the pH in the stomach by neutralizing the acid. This effectually helps eliminate heartburn and acid reflux.
When stomach acid leaks back into the esophagus it results in an unpleasant burning feeling in the chest or throat known as heartburn or acid reflux.
When the food in the stomach is in a milder acidic environment it will still be digested efficiently. However with less acid there will be fewer problems with the esophagus, and less chance of acid reflux or heartburn.
A recent survey conducted by the earth clinic website nominated apple cider vinegar as the most popular and best home remedy to relieve symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.
A dose of 10-15 mls (2 – 3 teaspoons) of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before meals or whenever an episode of heartburn or reflux is experienced is recommended. If the taste of the vinegar is a deterrent add the dose to a glass of fruit juice and the taste will be almost unnoticeable.
It will also benefit general health to add apple cider vinegar to your cooking or use as a salad dressing.
There are quite a few foods to choose from in the list above, so you can certainly add a few or all of these super foods to your diet without too much trouble. If you do, you’ll boost your gut health!
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