You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” but perhaps a more accurate saying is, “You are what you absorb through digestion.” That’s because all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body requires for good health and energy are absorbed through your intestinal walls and then sent into your bloodstream to nourish your entire body.
In addition to absorbing nutrients, your digestive system houses about 80% of your immune system and is responsible for eliminating toxins and waste. However, when your system is compromised, rotting food and waste can get lodged in your digestive tract for days, weeks or even months. This can impede absorption of essential nutrients as well as cause harmful toxins to build up, which can be harmful to your health.
If you are not getting enough nourishment due to poor digestion and poor absorption of nutrients, you are more susceptible to illness. You might experience symptoms such as as gas, bloating, intestinal pains or spasms, diarrhea, or constipation that could be a sign that your digestive system is functioning at a sub-par level and your health could be at risk.
You may be Lacking Digestive Enzymes
You may be deficient in digestive enzymes that are necessary for the proper breakdown of foods into chemical forms of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can be absorbed and utilized in your body.
There are several reasons why your enzymes may be depleted. One reason is age because, unfortunately as we get older, the pancreas produces less and less of the digestive enzymes we need. Another reason is eating a poor diet made up of processed foods which are often devoid of natural enzymes due to cooking methods in the food industry that destroy enzymes at about 118ºF. For instance, pasteurized juices and many breakfast cereals that are heat-processed contain no enzymes to aid digestion.
Some other things that deplete or destroy enzymes are parasites, smoking, air pollution, ultra-violet radiation, caffeine or other stimulants, and some over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Digestive enzymes are also highly sensitive to stress.
Because enzymes are needed to break down food substances, a lack of them often causes extra proteins, yeast, carbohydrates and fats to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, which can lead to a host of other health problems. The bottom line is without enzymes, it’s impossible to absorb nutrients efficiently and it leads to health issues.
Replenish Enzymes by Eating Raw, Natural Foods & Taking an Enzyme Supplement
The best ways to replenish enzymes and improve digestion is to eat plenty of raw, natural fruits, vegetables, and other plants foods, and take a nutritional supplement. Many experts say that digestive enzyme supplementation is essential to improve digestion due to the common cooking practices used in today’s modern food industry.
Regardless of age, most people can improve digestion by taking a digestive enzyme supplement, such as Healthy Choice Naturals Ultra-Zymes. This all-natural herbal supplement provides the following 18 powerful enzymes that work fast to improve digestion overall by helping to digest proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber, as well as minimizing discomfort from gas, bloating, indigestion or constipation:
- Acid Stable Protease
- AGS a-Galactosidase
- Protease 1
- Protease 2
Make Dietary Changes
To improve digestion and minimize gastrointestinal discomfort, you may need to make some dietary changes, such as eating more whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Foods rich in fiber are also necessary to provide bulk to help food pass more easily through your system.
Certain foods can improve digestion and support absorption of nutrients, as well as help to restore the delicate balance of friendly versus bad bacteria in your system. There are also certain foods that can exacerbate digestive problems and cause flare-ups of indigestion and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Here are some “Dietary Do’s and Don’ts” to give you some guidelines on dietary changes that can improve digestion:
Dietary Do’s & Don’ts for Healthy Digestion
Do eat yogurt. Yogurt contains live, friendly bacteria that are good for digestion and regularity.
Do eat whole grains. Whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread, oats, and brown rice are good sources of fiber. Adults should eat between 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day. However, the average American only eats about 12 grams per day. Other benefits of fiber are that it makes you feel full and less hungry, and it supports healthy cholesterol levels. If you have celiac health issues or a gluten intolerance, whole-wheat grains should be avoided.
Do eat bananas. Bananas help restore normal bowel function, especially if you have diarrhea. Bananas also help to replenish electrolytes and potassium that may have been depleted from an episode of diarrhea.
Do eat ginger. Ginger has been used for thousands of years as natural way to relieve nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, morning sickness, gas, loss of appetite, and colic. It’s best consumed in moderation with no more than 2-4 grams per day. More than this can result in heartburn.
Don’t eat fatty or fried foods. Both high-fat and fried foods can overburden the stomach and cause acid reflux and heartburn. Your body can only handle a little fat at a time.
Don’t eat chili peppers. Chili peppers can irritate your esophagus and cause heartburn, especially if you have irritable bowel syndrome or already suffer from chronic heartburn.
Don’t eat dairy foods if you’re lactose intolerant. For those who have issues with lactose, dairy foods can cause diarrhea, gas, abdominal bloating and cramps. It’s best to avoid dairy products in this case.
Don’t drink too much alcohol. Alcohol relaxes the body, including the esophageal sphincter, which can result in acid reflux or heartburn. Alcohol can also cause inflammation in the lining of the stomach, interfering with enzyme activity and impairing nutrient absorption. Excessive drinking can also cause diarrhea and cramping. However, unless you have a gastrointestinal disorder, moderate drinking of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women should not cause digestive problems for most people.
Don’t eat berries with tiny seeds. Most berries are good for your health but berries with tiny seeds can cause flare-ups for people with diverticulitis, which is a condition when pockets or bulges develop in the intestines and become inflamed or infected. Some experts theorize that seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, can get stuck in these pockets where they can fester and cause intestinal pain, so it may be best to avoid seeds if you have diverticulitis.
Don’t drink coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages. These beverages relax the esophageal sphincter, which can cause acid reflux or heartburn, and they also act as diuretics, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping.
Don’t eat corn without chewing it well. Corn is a good source of fiber, but it contains a hard-to-digest fiber called cellulose. If you do eat corn, chew it up well and you may be able to digest it without a problem. But if you don’t chew it well, it may pass through your system undigested, which can cause gas and stomach pain.