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.
Hearing a diagnosis of cancer may be one of the most frightening things that can happen in a doctor’s office. The disease can be deadly, and even when it’s not, the diagnosis very often means surgery and a long period of debilitating chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Many patients can benefit from complimentary medicine during or after cancer treatment. As one member of a team, the complimentary care provider has a variety of tools to help patients through the process. Complimentary medicine, drawing on herbs, vitamins, acupuncture and other tools as adjuncts to traditional treatments, can address a wide range of medical conditions and health concerns.
To better understand how complimentary medicine works in cancer care, consider a 44-year-old woman with two children who had a double mastectomy for breast cancer. Her vitamin D levels were checked and she was put on a supplement. She was also advised to use evening primrose oil to relieve the hot flashes she was getting from her treatment with tamoxifen, a drug that interferes with estrogen. Acupuncture was used to help relieve her pain and fatigue. The idea is that her treatment was tailored to her individual needs
Patients dealing with cancer who wish to add alternative medicine to their treatment regimen really should seek out a qualified provider. It is a vulnerable time for people, and anything that seems to promise a cure is tempting. Many patients read about various alternative approaches on the Internet and wind up wasting hundreds or thousands of dollars and many hours of time on things that won’t be effective for their type of cancer. Often they don’t tell their doctors they’re doing this, leaving the patient without support and the doctor without important information.
Other patients err in the other direction, dismissing the whole idea of complimentary medicine. They endure the pain and nausea that frequently accompanies cancer treatment when there are methods they could use to reduce those effects.
A trained professional can identify the supplements, dietary choices and techniques, such as massage or yoga, that are most likely to help an individual patient, and which compliment the treatment the patient is undergoing. Each case is unique, and it is important for the provider and the patient to become a team, working together to find the best options.
Choosing a provider of complimentary medicine is not always easy. The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine is a good resource, offering an array of general information and a directory of certified physicians around the country. It’s a good place to start your search.