Digestive Health (Part 1 of 2)

Good digestive health is something that many of us take for granted. For those of us that aren’t so lucky, it can be very difficult to isolate foods that make us feel bloated, gassy and uncomfortable. When we feel this way, it is a sign that our digestive system has become inflamed due to the incomplete breakdown of certain foods in our digestive tract.

During times of illness or just when our digestion isn’t coping that well we can function better on foods that have been cooked or partly broken down, such as soups, stews, casseroles, soft fruits and steamed vegetables. Certain herbs which are high in antioxidants can be added to help aid our digestion and settle our tummies. These include ginger, clove, basil, rosemary, fennel, dill, cardamom, cumin and parsley.

Herbal teas can be great in this instance too and they can be added to our daily water intake, try liquorice, peppermint, ginger and chamomile with a little lemon and raw local honey for a sweeter taste.

When digestion is poor it may be better to stay away from foods that are harder to breakdown, for example raw veggies, hard fruits e.g. apples and nuts – as they may cause gut irritation – as well as some meats. I would especially source gluten and diary free options as both gluten and dairy have been linked to causing inflammation within in the body.  A well balanced diet is always more beneficial however if our bodies are already under stress there is no need to exacerbate the symptoms.

For the ladies out there, poor digestion can decrease the rate of oestrogen being excreted from the body. This is turn may produce painful symptoms like period pain, heavy bleeding and impact our mood swings for the worse.

When the gut is healthy and our diet contains adequate amounts of fibre, oestrogen can then bind to the fibre in the digestive system and is then able to be easily excreted.

To ensure your diet has enough fibre include as many green leafy vegetable as you can, broccoli, chia seeds and flaxseeds throughout your day. A great tip is to also add lemon or ACV into your daily routine before meals to help with the stimulation of digestive enzymes and aid in the breakdown of foods. Green banana flour or starch in your smoothies or breaky bowls is also a great way to get some resistant start in of a morning.

We also know to eat a balance of nutrients you should try to include sources from whole foods which include “good” protein sources, some healthy fats and fruit and vegetables. Try and reduce your intake of alcohol, sugar and caffeine to ensure a healthy gut and digestive system, plus add in some moderate exercise that you enjoy, spend some time in the sun, get your sleep under control and try some meditation or relaxation work which in turn will all assist in a calmer, centred and clearer mindset and body.

These tips certainly help me when I may be a little under the weather or stress has crept in, remember mind and gut are closely linked so look at your symptoms from a holistic approach and nurture yourself with love and kindness.

Nicole
Nicole McDermott
nic@thechieflife.com

I am passionate about working with people on a holistic level to balance hormones, improve mood, manage weight all whilst educating people on the benefits of a balanced whole foods diet. Follow more great advice from Nic here.