In part one, titled How To Have Great Digestion, you learned that good digestion is one of the keys to great health. Choosing your foods wisely, chewing your food completely and using digestive enzymes are just some of the ways to ensure the best digestion possible. Here are some more ideas to help enhance your digestion and therefore your health.
4. Use Probiotics
The word probiotic literally means “for life.” Essentially what you are doing when you take probiotics is giving new life to your digestive system by helping to repopulate it with “good” bacteria. Some of the most common strains of bacteria found in probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Common foods that have these type of bacteria are yogurt, kefir, fermented soy products such as miso soup or tofu (make sure it is fermented), and sauerkraut. These particular types of bacteria have been shown to help improve conditions such as yeast infections, diarrhea and some say they can prolong life as well. The Japanese and Russian people of the Caucus mountains have some of the longest life spans in the world, and culturally their diets are composed of many fermented foods containing healthy probiotics.
5. Address “Leaky Gut Syndrome”
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which the cells of the intestinal lining develop gaps between them. This may be cause for concern because these gaps could allow toxins and bacteria to “leak” into the bloodstream. Some of the symptoms of leaky gut include: excessive gas and bloating, IBS, food allergies, or even adverse changes in mood. Over-consumption of the following foods or drugs may cause leaky gut: alcohol, caffeine, NSAIDS (such as Aspirin), pollutants on fruits (such as insecticides), and extremely spicy foods.
A few ways to help prevent this condition are: eat complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables (which increase fiber content in the diet); reduce inflammation by taking fish oils, especially cod liver oil (which contains vitamins A and D, excellent antioxidants). Supplementing with L Glutamine, an amino acid found in both meat and plants has been shown to protect the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining.
6. Do a Cleanse/Detox
Some of the components that make up doing a cleanse are getting rid of foods that you already know are bad for you: fast food, fried foods, basically most things found in the drive through of your favorite restaurant. You want to replace those things with living foods rich with enzymes and probiotics: fruits, vegetables, yogurts (minus the high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors), nuts, seeds, berries and even some herbs such as milk thistle, alfalfa, slippery elm, and dandelion. Several companies offer cleanses that contain herbs that help the liver remove chemicals like phthalates, organophosphates, solvents, heavy metals from the body that we get from the air as well as our food.
So let’s recap the steps to obtaining a happier life through better digestion:
1. Choose your foods wisely.
2. Chew your food completely.
3. Use digestive enzymes.
4. Use probiotics.
5. Address leaky gut syndrome.
6. Do a cleanse/detox.