Healthy Digestion for Optimum Health

Courtesy photo An essential ingredient of maintaining healthy digestion naturally is the consumption of plenty of water.

 

One of the most common reasons people see their general practitioner, or primary care provider, is for digestive concerns. The digestive system is made up of organs that work to convert food into energy for the body as well as eliminate toxic byproducts. These organs include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestines, large intestine and rectum. It is extremely important to support these organs so that they may function as optimally as possible to digest food and absorb nutrients.

The following are some examples of natural ways to support digestion.

Mindful Eating — Digestion starts in the brain. Chew food slowly and enjoy the flavors and aromas. Focus on chewing, tasting and swallowing. Set aside time to fully enjoy and focus on the meal. Try to not eat while watching television or working on the computer. Take sips of room temperature water in between meals to not dilute digestive enzymes in the mouth. 

Apple Cider Vinegar — Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into ¼-cup of water and drink before meals. This will help stimulate the release of digestive enzymes to help digest food.

Fermented Foods — Fermented foods contain excellent pre- and probiotics, which are good bacteria for the small intestine and colon. Probiotics can support digestion and nutrient absorption. Fermented foods include miso, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, kimchi and tempeh.

Teas — There are many excellent teas with herbs such as licorice, cardamom, coriander, peppermint, fennel and ginger that can support digestion, and help with gas and bloating. 

Fiber — Fiber can help support movement through the digestive tract and helps bulk up stool, which can help prevent constipation. The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) for fiber is around 30 grams, while the average American consumes half that. Chia seeds, freshly ground flax seeds and psyllium husks are great sources of fiber. Mix 1 tablespoon of the fiber of your choice into 8 ounces of water and drink twice a day; or just mix into salads and smoothies.

Aloe Vera Juice or Gel — Aloe vera juice can help digestion and decrease inflammation. Drink ½ cup of juice once a day. Note, the latex part of the aloe plant is a stimulating laxative, which has much different actions that the juice or gel. 

Water — Hydration is important for healthy digestion. Drink enough filtered water every day, so that urine is clear, or at least straw yellow.

Sleep — Without rest, the body will not be able to work effectively at digesting and absorbing nutrients. Try to have at least seven to eight hours of restful sleep a night. 
The above advice offers some basic examples. There are many more natural and integrative approaches to explore including vitamins, minerals and herbs that can enhance and strengthen digestive processes.

Those with digestive concerns such as bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, chronic constipation and abdominal pain should speak with their doctor since these symptoms can be caused by more serious conditions. Naturopathic doctors are highly qualified practitioners to approach these issues in a safe and effective manner.

Make an appointment today to discuss other strategies and options, for safe and effective digestion.

 

 

Dr. Mimosa Tonnu utilizes naturopathic, integrative and holistic medicines to treat the whole family. She’s see patients for both acute and chronic health conditions at Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc., in Alameda. Contact us today via www.bornnaturopathic.com, or at 550-4023.