Keeping Your Gut Healthy

by Debra Diamond Healthy Alternatives
Keeping your gut healthy is important as we age!

A very common syndrome that affects one in five adult Americans is called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The symptoms of IBS may include constipation, bloating, gas or diarrhea, abdominal cramping or pain, or mucus in the stool. Obviously this can be a very painful and debilitating condition.  The more changes that occur in your daily bowel movements, such as differences in the frequency or consistency of stools, the presence of pain or cramping, etc., makes it all more important to deal with the situation quickly.

However, most common drugs issued from doctors, even over the counter suggestions may not relieve the issue. All too often I hear from those who suffer these symptoms that they don’t get any relief from the medications provided. Doctors are beginning to admit that you should not head for the “pill fix” which we are so commonly accustomed to, since often times these pills will promote other issues.

Some simple and practical suggestions which may seem rather obvious but are not always followed are to adjust what we eat. It’s important to avoid sodas and other sugary treats, along with caffeine, alcohol and fried or processed foods.  These foods tend to impede digestion. Instead, reach for more whole foods, such as fresh vegetables along with the healthy fats (typically found in salmon, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds) and complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and even steamed veggies.

There are more articles today written about natural health alternatives to help repair our bodies. Some of the major articles are about Probiotics and Enzymes. Along with this information comes the marketing from the huge corporate food industry. They seem to be cashing in on our health while we innocently follow along to be taken advantage of.

While yogurt companies claim that their products contain live cultures such as probiotics, which are often recommended to encourage bacterial balance in the intestines…. Not all yogurt is equal and there even seems to be inconsistency in the validity of yogurt being the “answer” to the issue.

Nutritionists or health doctors suggest a better alternative is the use of other sources of probiotics. What exactly are probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. Although we usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases…. Your body is actually full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.  Even though probiotics are naturally found in your body, they may be weakened by the constant barrage of processed foods eaten. This of course results in all the commonly seen stomach issues people are complaining about.

There are two common probiotics found in food. Lactobacillus which is typically found in yogurt or fermented foods. Unfortunately, as already noted, not all strains are equal. Bifidobacterium is also found in some dairy products and it has been suggested this may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) along with some other conditions. Essentially, probiotics are the good bacteria that helps move food through your gut.

Enzymes are something else you should also consider learning about.  Supplemental digestive enzymes are especially important if you are over 35 years. As we age, our bodies tend to loose our ability to maintain good health on its own. The law of diminishing return has an effect on us and our own digestive enzymes are weakened.  When you take digestive enzymes as a supplement, this helps your body break down foods into compounds that make nutrients easier to digest, and also work to decrease the number of colonized microorganisms in the stomach.

Enzymes are considered proteins and there are many different types of enzymes. However, without getting too technical about the variety of enzymes available: there is no doubt that enzymes provide an important key to the proper functioning of our bodies. Essentially, enzymes have one function and one function only. Enzymes work like a key that fits in a lock and opens up the door for usage. Only when the right enzyme finds the right material it can work upon, will the proper biochemical reaction occur. That reaction is the key fitting into the lock and then opening the door.

In simpler terms, digestive enzymes facilitate the chemical breakdown of food into smaller, absorbable components. Thus making it easier for you and I to digest the food we eat. If you have consistent stomach problems and have been diagnosed with IBS or another related issue, ask your doctor about probiotics and enzymes. Remember that these are naturally occurring in our bodies, but may need some assistance to regenerate.

Debra Diamond

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About Debra Diamond Professional   Healthy Alternatives

484 connections, 23 recommendations, 2,004 honor points.
Joined APSense since, August 26th, 2013, From Boston, United States.

Created on Dec 31st 1969 18:00. Viewed 0 times.


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