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Love your GUT this Autumn

If your digestive system doesn’t work as it should, the result might be pain or discomfort right through to downright embarrassment at the gurgling noises and bad smells your body produces. It doesn’t have to be that way and, as a nutrition practitioner, I am always amazed by how long some of my clients have been trying to muddle through before they seek my help. What scientist now call the ‘microbiome’ is a collection of different microorganisms running all through your digestive tract, that runs from your mouth to… well, the other end.

Most of these organisms are bacteria and the balance of the bacteria in your digestive system has implications for your health in general. In short, it’s important to have the right kinds of bacteria in the right places. It matters that the ratio of good to bad bacteria works – when you’re out of balance, this is where health issues can arise. If you suffer bloating, wind, feelings of nausea, diarrhoea and constipation (or a combination of the two), then it is time to seek some help to help your gut bacteria to get back into balance.

Some things you can do to help:

1. CHEW YOUR FOOD: With proper chewing, you are mechanically breaking down the food into smaller pieces, so the digestive enzymes can get to work more easily, doing their job. If you’re not chewing properly, it’s highly likely that you’re not digesting your food properly. And that means you won’t be absorbing vital nutrients either. Not chewing also means the food you eat takes much longer to break down, and, as it hangs around in your digestive system, it can start to ferment, causing uncomfortable wind, gas and bloating.

2. BALANCE YOUR STOMACH ACID: When reflux, heartburn or indigestion occur, It is easy to reach for the indigestion tablets but, as I frequently see with my own clients in clinic, it is the total opposite! Getting older, stress and some over-the-counter medications can make your stomach acid levels drop to the extent that you don’t produce enough to digest food. Why is this important? The stomach acid you produce not only kills any bacteria in the food you are eating, it also breaks down the protein in your meal. If you’re not properly digesting the protein element in food, it can start to ferment, creating gases that force to move upwards causing indigestion or burping sensation.

3. REST YOUR DIGESTION: Not eating is almost as important for your health as eating. It’s important to space out your meals so the digestive system actually gets a chance to rest. This might require some self-discipline if you’re a frequent grazer. Eating every 4 hours is a good benchmark to aim for and gives the body enough time to completely digest the previous meal and have a break. Of course, there will be days when your eating routine falls out of whack, but don’t beat yourself up. Just try and get back on track the following day.

4. FOODS THAT YOUR DIGESTION LOVES: cruciferous vegetables e.g. broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, spring greens, watercress etc. These gorgeous greens are called prebiotic foods (different from probiotics) in that they are fibre to help feed your good gut bacteria and help maintain a healthy immune system. Fibre-rich foods such as fruit and veg, beans and lentils, oats and wholegrain foods like brown rice and wheat. These fibre rich foods are not broken down but instead sweep through your digestive system picking up toxins and other waste products for elimination from the body. They also help to maintain regular bowel movements.

The above are some simple tips that can be incorporated into your daily life. If you suffer with digestive issues or a diagnosed digestive condition, why not book your free health call with Aine and see how she can help by clicking FREE mini consultation today.

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