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The Gut Microbiome & Good Digestive Health

microbiomeMicrobiome is a word more and more people are becoming familiar with in understanding the role it has on our gut and overall health. If you haven’t heard this term before, microbiome refers to the collective colonies of bacteria living in our digestive tracts. Good bacteria guard the integrity of the delicate mucous membranes and not so good bacteria can wreak all kinds of havoc.

Bloating, diarrhoea, indigestion and food intolerances can all be caused by an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria communities. Ever have brain fog? It could be the result of an overload of the bad guys!

 How does this happen and how can you protect yourself?

  • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Chlorine in tap water
  • High gluten and dairy consumption
  • Processed sugar intake
  • Lack of dietary fibre
  • High protein diets
  • Oral contraceptive pill

All of the above contribute to an imbalance in favour of destructive bacteria. Once the thin mucous membrane has been penetrated by bacteria, and/or the contributing behaviour continues, a host of digestive disorders ensues.

More and more, research is highlighting the link between the poor gut microbiome and chronic health conditions such as allergic reactions, skin conditions, chronic inflammatory conditions, obesity, and mental health conditions including depression and anxiety.

 What Helps Gut Microbiome Flourish?

  • Implementing stress-management into your daily routine is key for optimal digestion. Simple techniques include taking a small walk on your lunch break, 10-minute tea break, or switching off from technology for 20 minutes a day.
  • Prebiotic foods stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Food sources include onions, garlic, leek, spring onion, whole grains, legumes, asparagus, cabbage.
  • Ensure you have 3-5 cups of a variety of vegetables daily to promote regular bowel movements, decrease inflammation and digestive discomfort. Plant foods provide food and nourishment for microbes to flourish. Eat the rainbow!
  • Take a high quality, multi-strain probiotic after a course of antibiotics. This restores a healthy balance of good bacteria that may have been depleted by antibiotics.

If this topic is of interest to you, and you feel you’d like some personalised support based on your unique circumstances, feel free to use the online system or contact us for more information.

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Simple Tips to Combat Overindulging & Indigestion this Christmas

christmas tree

Christmas is a time to be with your loved ones, play backyard cricket, eat (too much) good food & laugh. No matter how much you tell yourself you won’t overeat – many of us will find ourselves lining up for second or third servings or collapsing on the couch with full bellies. To avoid indigestion or that overwhelming sense of fullness this festive season, I have put together my top tips so you can have your cake and eat it too!

  • Consuming large amounts of liquids with meals floods the digestive system, leading to bloating & discomfort. Carbonated drinks are particularly aggravating if you are susceptible to bloating. Keep liquids 15 minutes apart from meals, or if you plan to enjoy a nice beverage with your Christmas lunch, do sip it slowly.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or even some bitters to your water during the day to enhance digestion.
  • Take a gentle walk after a big meal to reduce bloating and indigestion.
  • Avoid indulging in heavy meals later in the evening. Going to bed with a full stomach can aggravate heartburn and led to an unsettling sleep. Particularly when combined with alcohol.
  • Herbal teateas are soothing and calming on the digestive tract after a day of indulging. Ginger, chamomile, fennel or peppermint to reduce bloating and relax spasm and cramps in the digestive tract.
  • If you know you’re going to eat more than usual, you may appreciate some extra herbal support such as Iberogast – a liquid herbal combination backed with plenty of scientific evidence and an excellent safety profile that you can easily fit into your handbag. Alternatively, try a good quality digestive enzyme capsule or tablet to optimise your chemical digestion and comfort.
  • Encompassing mindfulness & gratitude at meal times allows us to appreciate how lucky we are, it also helps us to feel aroused by the colours & smells of the meal before us. This effective tool stimulates the release of gastric secretions before food enters the stomach, and optimises chemical digestion to ensure maximum breakdown and absorption of nutrients.

Remember to have fun and enjoy the delicious festive foods with your loved ones. Christmas only comes around once per year so release the guilt and bring the joy back into eating!

bells

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