Am I right to say when your digestive health is out of whack, you feel like absolute shit and when you feel like absolute shit all you want to do is not eat but just sleep and read posts like this on how you can naturally relieve the discomfort?
Digestive discomfort and its signs and symptoms such as bloating, ‘heaviness’, fatigue, foul smelling flatulence, weight gain or water retention, constipation, diarrhea, gastric reflux… are one of, if not the most, common cases I see in clinic.
There are many many reasons as to why these disruptions can occur including conditions such as gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad flora), fermentation, leaky gut, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome and crohns disease. Or like me, an underlying condition like coeliac disease and lactose intolerance. So when clients come in wanting some symptomatic relief or guidance on how they can reduce their symptoms without western medications and extreme diets, I always aim to follow the number one naturopathic principal: do no harm by promoting self healing.
Ive battled with digestive issues myself and still do time to time (life is cruel at times), but once I focused on improving my overall digestive health and allowing my body to heal its self with assistance from natural therapies, I noticed a significant change in the way I felt and looked – minimal bloating, clear skin (bye bye pimples), weight loss, improved concentration, increased vitality, healthy hair and nails and positive energy and thoughts.
I used the following 5 digestive lifesavers to help me, so I hope they can help you too or that uou can take something away from this post!
Chew Chew Chew Your Food
Digestion starts in the mouth. Your salivary glands are the first point of breakdown so the more you chew your food, the more the food is broken down and the less your small intestine has to work to digest them.
Eat fermented and Cultured foods
Fermented foods are high in good bacteria that is needed for smooth moving digestion. Including the likes of sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables, kombucha or kefir, into your diet, will help to create natural digestive enzymes, b vitamins and other beneficial factors that will assist with reducing bloating, flatulence and dysbiosis. They also promote the healing of gut mucosa, increase nutrient absorption and support immune function.
Increase water / Be kind to your liver
Dehydration is a very common associate of digestive discomfort. When you are dehydrated the body begins to retain fluid often due to a loss of electrolytes through sweat or high salt diets.
Aim to increase your water intake by atleast 1-2 glasses per day (atleast 3 if exercising)- try adding 1/2 a fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar to promote liver detoxification, re-hydration and release of digestive enzymes. Herbals teas are also another great way if you’re after a variety BUT be careful because too many cups can deplete your iron stores and cause you to become more fatigued. Go for Aleo Vera juice, Peppermint, ginger, fennel, chamomile and fenugreek tea for digestive relief or dandelion or black tea with milk for a coffee substitute.
Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands and has many functions including helping the body use sugar (glucose) and fat for energy. When we stress these levels elevate and consequently inflames the stomach and causes our cells to become more resistant to insulin, meaning the pancreas needs to work harder to stabilize blood sugar levels. As there is less energy for the body to use, food absorption and breakdown efficiency is reduced.
I found that relaxing tasks and exercises such as meditation, yoga, light exercise and following a whole food diet helped to reduce my stress.
In a desperate need to want to feel good again, I resulted to supplementation whilst I was also implementing dietary changes. I was under professional guidance for this to ensure I wasn’t harming the healing process, so if you’re looking at this option, I would suggest you talk to your naturopath or nutritionist or take it slow and try one option at a time.
I began with Bioceuticals MultiGest which are plant-derived enzymes to assist in the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, lactose and cellulose. They contain herbs gentian and fennel for instant relief of distention (bloating) and discomfort, and are usually taken once before each meal (its such a pain the ass remembering to take them but its so dahm worth it in end).
Start off by only taking the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae strain first. This will help to clear the abundance of bad bacteria contributing to fermentation out of the gut to allow more good bacteria to accumulate. THEN go for Lactobacillus fermentum to assist with balancing. Its important to note these shouldn’t be taken directly after each other – allow atleast 8-10 weeks between each one to allow time for your body to ajdust to the supplement. Also, both forms of these are contraindicated in pregnant women, after recent surgery, those with pancreatitis and a yeast and lactose intolerance (I took these before I acquired lactose intolerance) So if you do have an allergy, I would stick with eating fermented foods and always make sure to consult a professional before consumption.
Glutamine (aka L-glutamine) is the most abundant non-essential amino acid in your body. It supports the repair and regeneration of the intestinal lining and bowel integrity, soothes inflammation and enhances protein metabolism. If you’re already on 2-3 supplements, you can find glutamine in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beets, beans, spinach, parsley and fresh vegetable juices.
Good Luck! I hope you enjoyed the read. If you plan to try out some of the remedies, I’d love to hear how you go!
Yours wholesomely, X