Step 4 to Wellness – Digest
Why is digestive health so important? For starters, the digestive system is where vitamins, nutrients and minerals are absorbed; optimal function of this important collaboration of organs is essential for wellness.
Our gastrointestinal tract is both our means of gaining nutrition and eliminating waste. Aside from digestion, the small intestine is where most of nutrient absorption occurs. Accumulation of fats, food residues, and parasites decrease the bioavailability of nutrients and minerals, this means you miss out on the nutrients you are ingesting. This is why detoxing and cleansing the bowels is important for enhancing digestion.
Many factors, such as diet, climate, aging, medication (i.e. antibiotics), pH, infection, genetics, socioeconomic circumstances and lifestyle can cause disruption of the normal microflora in the digestive tract leading to decreased resistance, colonization and to alterations in the metabolic activities of intestinal flora.
Optimal digestive function depends on a co-existence between resident micro-organisms of different species. The primary beneficial bacteria in the gut are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These species promote the production of bacteriocins (which are natural antibiotics) and beneficial immune processes.
Probiotics (Pro- for and bios- life) are live microorganisms which beneficially affect the host by creating intestinal microbial balance. By maintaining this crucial balance it can help the immune system, aid digestive complaints, decrease allergies and much more.
It further benefits the host as intestinal flora has high metabolic activity and aids in the synthesis of vitamins.
To ensure growth and maintenance of this flora we need prebiotic fibre, as prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial probiotics. By including this fibre we can help feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut and gain wellness.
Many foods and nutrients can aid digestion.
Some foods include:
- Black Pepper
- Mustard Greens
Digestive aids can help your digestive system while adjusting to the change of diet on the wellness plan; wholesome foods are generally harder to digest; and your digestive system may have become sluggish if you have been consuming a diet largely consisting of processed foods.
Below are some recommendations to help support and repair the digestive system to ensure you get the most out of your diet.
Helpful supplements or dietary inclusions:
- Vitamin A
- Omega 3
- Aloe vera
- Lemon balm
- Aloe leaf
- Barberry root
- Senna leaf
It is also beneficial to include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet such as ginger, garlic, onion and essential fatty acids (such as flaxseed oil, walnuts and chia seeds).
Digestion recipe idea
1 large Radish, grated
½ a Beetroot, grated
1 cup Mustard greens, chopped
1 cup Rocket
½ cup Green paw paw, grated
2 tbsp Parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Mint, chopped
2 cups Lettuce, chopped
½ lime, juiced
3 tbsp flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch Pepper
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Combine dressing ingredients in a small jug and stir vigorously.
Toss all salad ingredients into a large bowl.
Toss through dressing until well coated.