Did you know more than 100 million Americans have digestive problems? There are more than 200 over-the-counter remedies for digestive issues. Unfortunately, many digestive issues can become or create digestive diseases and disorders.
Many of us don't know that the digestive system plays a huge role in our overall immune health and that gastrointestinal problems can hurt your entire body. Believe it or not, GI problems can lead to everything from allergies and acne to arthritis and cancer.
The gut is a huge chemical factory that helps you digest your food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins and produce healing compounds that keep your gut healthy. Too many of the wrong ones...or not enough of the good ones...can lead to serious damage. Your entire immune system (and your body) is protected from the toxic environment in your gut by a layer only one cell thick. This thin layer...is basically containing a sewer. If that barrier is damaged, you will get sick and create an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body.
Your gut guides your overall well-being. Quite literally, your gut is the epicenter of your mental and physical health. It's extremely common to experience occasional digestive issues, but it's also too common to ignore your gut when it's trying to tell you something.
For instance, we may experience indigestion from time to time. When it happens, we write it off as just one of those things you have to deal with. We need to think about what it really means. Indigestion is your body's way of telling you it's struggling to break down various components of the food you consume. Often, this is caused by a low number of the digestive enzymes that break down food and absorb nutrients properly. If indigestion is something you experience regularly, it's important to seek out the underlying cause.
Your gastroenterologist will be able to help you identify causes of your digestive symptoms as well as options for treating them. In the meantime, here are some simple steps you can take to help keep your gut healthy:
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Eat more whole foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains and limit your intake of high fat, processed products.
- Take probiotic supplements or add probiotic yogurt to your diet.
- Take extra omega-3 fat supplements, which help cool inflammation in the gut.
- Eat smaller portions per sitting and avoid heavy meals before bedtime.