Most of us know how uncomfortable and upsetting stomach pains and digestive problems can be. Dietary and environmental triggers can create a whole host of unwanted (and unsociable) gripes that can have a big impact on our daily lives. Common complaints include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, acid-reflux, indigestion and improper bowl function.
The good news is that pretty simple lifestyle and dietary changes can be made, such as eating certain foods while avoiding others and learning to eat foods that promote healthy floral balance in the gut, to correct imbalances.
Besides avoiding specific foods to which you may be allergic, I have found seven wonderful tips from one of my favourite health websites (www.naturalnews.com) to get your gut function back on track.
1) Probiotics. The importance of regularly taking probiotic supplements and eating probiotic foods cannot be stated enough, as these are the bedrock elements of strong digestion. When the bacterial balance in the gut gets thrown off due to poor diet, overuse of antibiotic drugs, toxic buildup and other factors, the digestive system is unable to properly digest and assimilate nutrients. For this reason, it is essential to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut using probiotics. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036642_probiotics_supplements_bacteria.html)
2) Fermented foods. Similar to probiotic supplements, fermented foods are teeming with beneficial bacteria that help prime the gut for optimal nutrient absorption. Raw sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha tea, raw milk, pickled vegetables, yogurt, and authentic miso soup are among the many cultured foods and beverages that help promote the proper enzymatic breakdown of food components within the gut, which in turn promotes healthy digestion and a well-functioning digestive tract. (http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/probiotic-foods/)
3) Aloe vera. When the colon becomes impacted with toxic waste as a result of poor digestion, conditions like ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, and spastic colon can result, all of which prevent the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. But eating aloe vera and drinking aloe vera juice regularly can irrigate and break down this impacted waste, and restore healthy diffusion throughout the intestinal tract. (http://www.desertharvest.com/physicians/documents/HB-43.pdf)
4) Zinc. Many people are unaware of the important role zinc plays in healthy digestion. An essential mineral for the production of digestive enzymes, zinc is one of the primary catalysts by which the body processes nutrients. Zinc is also a critical component in the renewal of regrowth of intestinal tissue, as well as the production of digestive bile and secretions of both the liver and pancreas. (http://drlwilson.com/Articles/ZINC.htm)
Many individuals with chronic bowel inflammation often end up also having zinc deficiency, as the two are closely related. Numerous studies have shown that zinc is a powerful gastro-protective nutrient with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, particularly when combined with the amino peptide L-carnosine. Simply upping your intake of zinc and L-carnosine, in other words, will help promote intestinal healing and healthy mucosal lining throughout the gut. (http://www.lef.org)
5) L-Glutamine. The amino acid L-glutamine is said to be the single most important nutrient for repairing the gastrointestinal tract. The most abundant amino acid in the body, L-glutamine has been shown to possess an incredible ability to repair colon and bowel tissues. L-glutamine provides energy to the cells in the digestive tract, effectively strengthening the gut lining and improving water absorption. Supplementing with L-glutamine can thus repair digestive function, reduce or eliminate allergies, improve mood and nutrient absorption, and ultimately boost immune function. (http://www.naturalnews.com/033532_l-glutamine_gut_health.html)
6) Avoid GMOs. In addition to eating the aforementioned foods and nutrients, it is also important to cut out foods that contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), as these toxic, man-made substance have been shown in numerous independent studies to disrupt digestion and destroy gut flora. Common GMOs throughout the food supply include ingredients made from non-organic soy, corn, canola, sugar beet, and cottonseed. (http://www.anh-usa.org)
Since an increasing amount of food crops are targets for genetic manipulation by the biotechnology industry, the best way to avoid inadvertently eating GMOs is to look specifically for certified organic or non-GMO project certified foods when shopping. Other hidden sources of GMOs include processed food ingredients like citric acid, vitamin C, ascorbic acid, maltodextrin, dextrose, sucrose, xanthan gum, yeast, lactic acid, vegetable proteins, vegetable oil, and flavors and flavorings, both “natural” and “artificial.” (http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/gmos-and-your-family/)
7) Avoid wheat gluten. Since this common protein substance tends to disrupt and destroy the nutrient-assimilating fibers that line the digestive tract, wheat gluten is another food you will want to avoid when trying to repair your gut and restore proper digestive function. Gluten disorders are far more widespread than most people think they are because the hybridized wheat varieties commonly used throughout the food supply today are particularly damaging — one expert cardiologist has actually dubbed modern-day wheat a “chronic, perfect poison.” (http://www.naturalnews.com/037133_wheat_gluten_poison.html)