restoring digestive health

Digestive health has been an interesting issue for me to research this past year as it has been the underlying cause of a number of physical and mental symptoms I have had to deal with.

A sluggish or unhealthy digestive system can present in so many ways. Physically, bloating and nausea after meals is a common occurrence and one we are all aware of. Mild depression, stress, anxiety, fatigue and a ‘foggy brain’ are lesser known symptoms of poor digestive health but are ones that many of us deal with unwittingly, sometimes for decades. So be mindful, you may not need a psychologist or anti-depressants but a greater awareness of your how you’re treating your body and in particular the digestive tract.

DigestivesPlus.com states

“Our reactions to stress and digestion are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. When humans experience stress, the body diverts energy, blood, enzymes and oxygen from the digestive organs to other areas of the body. In addition to mental and emotional stresses like fear, anger and worry, physical stresses including infections, trauma from injuries, surgery and environmental toxins can have a major effect on our digestive efficiency”.

Our digestive system absorbs and transports nutrients from the foods we consume and distributes it to various organs via the bloodstream, it then eliminates the leftover food not needed from the body in the form of faeces. Quite a simple process in an extremely complex network that is our bodies ~ that is, if all is in fine working order …

How do we know if our digestive system is sluggish …

  • Abdominal bloating, swelling and pain
  • Mild depression and anxiety
  • Skin problems
  • Muscle cramp
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea / Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of heaviness after eating

Causes may include:

  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Antibiotics – kill a high percentage of the naturally occurring beneficial bacteria that we need for digestion.
  • Over-the Counter Drugs – birth control pills, laxatives, antacids, antihistamines, ibuprofen, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
  • Poor Diet – fast foods, processed foods, not enough fibre, high sugar content and food allergies
  • Environmental Toxins – solvents, food additives, air and water pollution and mercury.

If left untreated resulting digestive problems include:

  • food allergies
  • gluten sensitivity
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • bacterial and fungal overgrowth of the small intestine
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • anemia
  • muscle cramps
  • joint problems
  • ulcers
  • colon cancer

Ways we can restore a healthy digestive tract:

Ways to restore a healthy digestive tract:1. Watch the amount of gluten, dairy, processed carbs, and sugar consumed. These foods are inflammatory and feed bad gut bacteria which can result in food allergies, autoimmune disorders and chronic candidiasis (yeast infections).2. Include fermented (probiotic) foods and drinks such as kefir.

3. Manage stress levels. This is a major cause of unfriendly gut bacteria and digestive issues due to the increase in cortisol. Exercise and meditation have helped me to make positive lifestyle changes by re-affirming what is important in my life. Check with your naturopath for advice on which herbs and supplements can aid in stress relief.

4. Use a quality probiotic to replace the good bacteria. There are so many products out there with varying strains, be sure your probiotic contains both L. Acidophilus and B. Bifidum.

5. Drink 2L per day of distilled water, juice of 1 lemon, 3Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1/2tsp cayenne pepper to help eliminate toxins and promote regular bowel movements.


Written for Oh Natural

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol Ann Larade says:

    I wish you could just come and sit on my shoulder all day and help me make better decisions. 🙂 Thanks again for great advice. Will definitely ease off of dairy, which is my trigger food. Cheers!

    1. palomino72 says:

      I hear you … safety in numbers right ! I’ll advise you and you can slap me when I have a sugar binge 🙂 Its great you know that dairy is your trigger, that makes things a lot easier to deal with.

  2. thexenophilediaries says:

    I am going to sleep now! But I like your content! I’ll look at this later, i’m following.

  3. prettytoxic says:

    Great post….thank you for this! I have these issues right now and needed this advice 🙂

  4. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Great advice.

    If I hadn’t been so in tune with my body, I never would have noticed all your points about digestion and elimination all those years ago (when Chronic Illness came to call on my doorstep).

    Must be over 20 years ago I made the connection. Luckily my local GP is a great support too.

    1. sandra says:

      Thanks Vicki, I found your blog really interesting and inspiring. You’ve certainly found some beauty within your illness and your photographs are beautiful. I agree, it helps AloT when you have a supportive G.P

  5. A very useful post. I would like to try some of your suggestions. Thank you very much for sharing.

    1. sandra says:

      Cheers Joycelin. Coconut Kefir water is fantastic, I’d definitely recommend you try that first. Maybe look into seeing a naturopath and getting some Slippery Elm Bark powder too.

      1. I have noted those names down and will try them. Thank you very much. This is like getting my puripuri advice, (from a medicine woman :).

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