Have you noticed yourself feeling occasionally bloated, or heavy after eating?  Have you felt a bit gurgly or gassy in bowels?   Perhaps you bowel patterns aren’t consistent? Something isn’t right and although your symptoms might not be severe, poor digestion can affect your energy and health in so many different ways.

What does a healthy digestive system feel like?

We shouldfeel comfortable after a meal with little or no burping or gassiness, bloating or regurgitation.   An hour or two after we eat our meal enters the small intestine; we should still feel comfortable, not bloated or crampy.  Sometime the next day your meal (or what is left of it) will enter your large intestine.  Again, this should be a comfortable process with little or no gassiness and no pain or cramping. Then, ideally 18-24hrs after you ate this meal, you should feel a gentle urge and be able to pass a well formed stool with no straining, bleeding or pain.  A healthy stool is mid-brown (depending on what you have eaten) with no undigested foods (except perhaps some seeds or corn), no fat globules and not hard and pebbly or soft and sticky.

Hands up who experiences this on a daily basis?  In fact, not too many.

Improve your digestion with the following tips:

  • No. 1 Eat healthily! Fresh foods, wholegrains, good fats and avoiding sugars, refined grains and processed oils.
  • Sit down and relax when you eat away from computers and televisions to distract you.
  • Avoid drinking too much liquid during meals
  • Chew your food well! This is important to not only start breaking down food but to send messages to the brain to being the digestive process.
  • Start a meal with bitter foods such as a rocket or radicchio salad or 1 tsp of cider vinegar in a glass of tepid water to stimulate digestion.
  • If you experience any digestive upset or symptoms of imbalance take a course of a probiotic.  There is a wide variety of good bacteria’s that live within us and assist us to digest food, reduce inflammation, develop immunity and maintain bowel health. Ask your Naturopath which one is best for you.
  • Include cultured and fermented food in your diet that encourage good bacteria such as plain natural yogurt, kefir, kimchi, crème fraiche, sauerkraut, natto and miso.

Be aware that we all have individual needs when it comes to foods, trying a blood type diet or having a food sensitivity test such as our quick an easy food detective  which will identify any food intolerance or issues that can cause all kinds of digestive symptoms.  Testing for candida overgrowth may also help. Ask you Naturopath to help you with this.

Our digestive system is fundamental to our health and any imbalance can cause a myriad of issues from simple nutritional deficiencies to chronic disorders such as auto immune and inflammatory diseases.  So take care of yours!

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