Restoring Your Digestive Health

Written by Emily Ledbetter
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It is estimated that nearly 38 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive disorder including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, GERD, candida and food allergies. In addition to the pain and discomfort associated with digestive disorders, they can also be the source of significant medical bills. By attempting to restore digestive health naturally, individuals can benefit from safe, effective treatment without the side effects and cost associated with conventional medicine. The three main approaches to a successful treatment plan include diet, supplements and ridding the body of harmful toxins.

Effective Diet Changes

One key to restoring digestive health through diet is to reduce or avoid intake of foods high in hard-to-digest components such as complex sugars and carbohydrates, phytates, gluten, legumes and beans. Digestive disorders are often accompanied by inflammation which is linked to high levels of of omega-6 fatty acids. Avoiding liquid vegetable oils and trans fatty acids while increasing consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation. Cod liver oil is also an important component of the diet for people suffering from digestive disorders as it contains omega-3 fatty acids along with vitamins A and D which fight inflammation and strengthen the immune system.

Supplements Promote Digestive Health

The primary natural supplements that aid those suffering from digestive disorders include whole food probiotics, digestive enzymes and whole food fiber. Probiotics refers to the "good" bacteria in the body that can reduce hyper-permeability of the gut, reduce the population of bad bacteria, enhance the immune system and detoxify the colon. The healthy bacteria was once prominent in healthy soil and plants, but it is now necessary to supplement as the naturally-occurring supply has been severely depleted.

Many people suffering from digestive disorders are unable to break down lactose and sucrose so it becomes necessary to supplement with plant-based enzyme formulations that aid in the breakdown. Digestive enzymes also assist in the breakdown of harmful bacteria that sometimes accompanies a meals, such as pathogenic microorganisms found in improperly prepared food.

After the body has been treated with whole food probiotics and digestive enzymes, it is necessary to rid the body of the waste that has been building up. The key to this process is supplementing with a whole food fiber blend. However, it is important to avoid products that contain psyllium which can lead to gas and bloating and potentially make the digestive disorder worse. There are also some conditions including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis that are overly sensitive to fiber and people suffering from those conditions may want to use a detoxifying clay product instead.

Rid the Body of Toxins

In addition to a healthy diet and supplement plan, it is crucial that those suffering from digestive disorders avoid toxins that are prevalent in air, water and skin care products. Many experts recommend air purifiers as an effective way to reduce mold, yeast and other harmful microorganisms in indoor air. Rather than drinking and cooking with tap water, it is important to use purified water to avoid many toxins in the water system. It's also recommended that those suffering from digestive disorders avoid chlorine in showers, baths and swimming pools as it is a harmful toxin. Finally, it is important to remember that all products applied to the skin are absorbed into the body. Avoid products that contain aluminum and heavy metals such as lead, along with harmful chemicals found in many types of make-up and shampoos. Health food stores often carry natural skin care and make-up products that do not contain harmful elements.

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