Good Digestion: The Foundation of Good Health
So much emerging research has come up recently connecting the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) with many health concerns. Most notable are these articles on depression here and here, this one on dementia, and this on risk associated with cardiovascular disease.
This doesn’t even scratch the surface – but hopefully starts to give you an idea of the interrelationship between the health of your digestion and, well just about everything else.
Conditions associated with poor gut health
- Frequent colds
- Seasonal allergies
- Weight gain and bloating
- PMS or PCOS
- Skin conditions like acne, eczema or psoriasis
- Brain fog/difficulty concentrating
- Food sensitivities
- Autoimmune disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Thyroid imbalance
The Gastrointestinal Tract (GI)
The GI’s main purpose is obviously digestion. However it also serves as a barrier. The intestinal wall serves as a barrier keeping toxins, bacteria and viruses out of circulation. Intestinal permeability (AKA Leaky Gut Syndrome) occurs when inflammation causes “leaks” or gaps in the gut membrane which then allows passage of toxic substances into the body. This also compromises the integrity of good bacteria that lines the gut. Furthermore, 80% of the body’s immunity is produced in the gut. Compromises in the gut lining, bacterial flora and inflammation are responsible for augmented immune response. This ultimately leads to many health problems listed above.
6 Strategies to improve digestion and prevent “leaky gut”
- Enlist nutritional support by a nutritionist or someone trained in dietary gut restoration therapy.
- Eat a whole food based diet and avoid pesticide and antibiotic exposed foods
- Balance microflora (“good” bacteria)by increasing intake of good bacteria either through fermented foods or a high quality probiotic.
- Limit use of gut damaging medications like proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec), NSAIDS (Ibuprofen), or steroids (prednisone), to name a few.
- Minimize use of alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and additives since they cause inflammation to the gut lining.
- Manage stress – left unchecked, stress is one of the best ways to increase acidity in the gut and cause more damage to the mucosal lining.
Healthy digestion workshop
Join me at Yoga in the Heights on Sunday February 22nd for a workshop dedicated to exploring the connection between gut health, digestion and good health. We’ll learn some important dietary techniques to maintain healthy GI function improve digestion and prevent chronic disease.
- Learn about important links between the gut and overall health
- Learn what steps to take to healing your gut and improving digestion
- Find relief from bothersome or embarrassing symptoms of poor digestion
Have more questions or want to learn more about February’s Nutrition Event? Contact me anytime!