5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Digestion
Jaime A. Heidel
Simple Cures for Heartburn, Constipation and Diarrhea
Everybody has occasional stomach upset. A night of heavy drinking or dining on rich food can wreak havoc on even the stoutest of digestive systems. However, if your tummy troubles are more than just occasional, you may need some help to improve your digestion.
Improve Digestion With Dietary Changes
If you frequently suffer from heartburn, adding some apple cider vinegar to your diet can work wonders in easing symptoms. Though it may seem counterproductive to add acid to an already burning stomach, acid reflux is actually a problem with too little acid production, not too much. Taking two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twenty minutes before a meal will help normalize pH levels and keep acid reflux at bay.
Hidden food allergies and intolerances are a common cause of chronic flatulence, constipation, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, brain fog and learning difficulties. The most common culprit foods are wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, soy, fructose and yeast. Improving digestion begins with eliminating the foods it cannot tolerate.
Remove the foods mentioned above from the diet for one week, and then reintroduce a new eliminated food once per day to test for symptoms. When a problem food is eaten, the symptoms will return and you will know what to eliminate permanently.
Improve Digestion With Probiotics
Probiotics are the live, active cultures found in foods such as yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, brine-cured pickles and sauerkraut. These "friendly bacteria" protect the body from infection and help the digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients.
Though these probiotics are found in certain foods, the amount you'd have to consume to receive optimal benefit is unrealistic. Those with digestive problems such as constipation, chronic diarrhea, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome benefit from a higher dosage of probiotics found in supplements. Ideally, the probiotic should contain 1-20 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units).
To get the most benefit from a probiotic supplement, choose one that requires refrigeration or is marked as "shelf-stable".
Improve Digestion With Digestive Aids
Digestive aids are supplemental enzymes used to mimic the body's natural digestive juices. Those who suffer from food allergies, food intolerance, celiac disease and other related disorders often suffer because their digestive systems are unable to properly digest any food, due to the damage culprit foods have done to the intestinal tract.
Improve Digestion With Fibre
Once problem foods have been cut from the diet, the gut has been repopulated with healthy bacteria and digestive aids have been introduced, it is important to focus on the elimination part of the digestive process. Most people are constipated but aren't aware of it. A person with optimal digestive health should have 2-4 bowel movements per day. Stool should be firm, formed and bulky.
If this doesn't sound familiar, it is important to add more fibre to the diet. Dark, leafy green vegetables such as turnip, mustard and collard greens are excellent sources of fibre. Other foods like oat bran, beans, sweet peas and dark berries are also good sources of necessary fibre.
Those who need a little extra help might benefit from a fibre supplement such as psyllium whole husks mixed in water after meals. This will help bulk up the stool, flush out toxins and prevent constipation and diarrhea.
Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep the fibre moving and prevent further constipation. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough water so urine is a light-coloured yellow.
Improve Digestion With Massage
Massage is an important but often overlooked tool to improve digestion. Maya abdominal massage is a technique that gets straight to the source of the digestive problem. It incorporates deep tissue massage only in the abdominal area. This massage increases the production of natural digestive enzymes, helps the body relax and encourages peristalsis, the involuntary contractions that move food though the intestines and waste products out of the body.
These five techniques to improve digestion should have you feeling better in no time!
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2010. Published with permission. Jaime A. Heidel is a professional freelance writer with a passion for natural health. She has years of writing experience and has contributed to Natural Awakenings magazine.
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