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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pillars of Digestive Health

Some basics of GI Health, by Dr. Kelley Barnes-Valdes

If you have ever seen a naturopath, you have probably realized that much of your health has to do with how well you digest your food.  There are many components to this, but the basic pillars of digestive health are balanced gut flora and the production and excretion of your stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

 In order to keep your flora in check you can eat fermented foods like pickled vegetables, yogurt, kimchee, kombucha, or kefir.  If you don’t have a palate for the sour side of things, then rotating through different probiotic supplements is also a good way to support your digestive health.

There are also several things you can do to get your digestive juices flowing.  Squeezing a lemon into your water and drinking this before a meal will stimulate stomach acid secretion.  The same is accomplished by drinking apple cider vinegar diluted with water before meals or adding vinegar to your salad.  The stomach acid increases the secretion of all of the other digestive enzymes so that your food will get broken down properly.  If this is not enough, your doctor can help you choose a digestive enzyme that is right for you.   Also remember that if you chew your food thoroughly, your stomach and intestines don’t have to work quite as hard to get your nutrients into your body.

These simple steps will lead to a healthier digestive system and thus improved overall health.

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