Our digestive system is vitally important to our health and wellbeing and is one of the first things that can be affected when we are under prolonged and ongoing stress. We are only now starting to fully understand how amazing it is and how it works. When our digestive system isn't functioning properly it can affect the rest of our body systems and contribute to poor health and wellbeing.
Often referred to as the outside inside ourselves, our digestive tract (from mouth to anus) provides a first line defence against harmful organisms from invading our body. If we make poor food choices, drink a lot of alcohol or experience high levels of stress we reduce the effectiveness of our digestive system's ability to defend us. Our gut also contains approximately 70% of our immune defences, so if we weaken those defences we leave ourselves wide open to invasion from toxins, unwanted virus's and bacteria leaving us feeling unwell. Symptoms of poor digestive health are often wide and varied, but can include:
- Joint pain
- Disturbed sleep / insomnia
- Skin rashes / itching / acne
- Night sweats
- Headache and brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Coating on the tongue
When we don't feed ourselves properly it can impact on the health of the bacteria living in our digestive systems. Often the causes of this are the result of our modern lifestyles, including:
- Antibiotics and other medications like birth control hormones and anti-inflammatory medication
- A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
- A diet low in vegetables and fruit which feed our beneficial gut bacteria
- Toxins that can damage the lining of the digestive system
- Chronic stress
- Chronic infections
Luckily there is something that can be done to help improve the health of our digestive systems when they are damaged.
Identify the root cause: There can be many causes of gut troubles - there is always a cause - identify it before you mask symptoms with medications.
Eliminate any foods/drinks you know to be problematic: This can be difficult and should ideally be done under the guidance of a professional such as a Nutritional Therapist.
Balance your gut bacteria: Beneficial bacteria strengthens the intestinal barrier to stop food and toxins entering the bloodstream when they shouldn't.
Slow down. The process of slowing down and chewing is important for enzyme release and breaking food down into particles that are manageable for the gut.
Eat real food. Our bodies have a longstanding relationship with whole/real foods. Food preservatives and additives, on the other hand, present a new (and perhaps impossible) challenge for our bodies.
If you think you may be suffering from digestive problems, contact me for a free discussion to see if Nutritional Therapy can help you identify what may be causing you problems and guide you on the road to improved health and wellbeing.