Poor diet, increased stress, exaggeration with intestinal irritants, misuse of antibiotics and other drugs, and overgrowth of parasites, these are all factors that can damage your gastrointestinal tract, and with it your overall health. Healthy digestion is a vital component of our immune system since it is necessary for the proper absorption of nutrients from food and for elimination of wastes. When it is disturbed, it can lead to many seemingly unrelated health issues, such as fatigue, skin problems, mood changes, aches, and increase the risk of developing cancer. Is there a way to reverse the damage that has already been done?
Luckily, there is. You can start with a new approach to your diet that is based on the four Rs – remove, repair, restore, and replace.
Step 1: Remove
Food is the primary trigger of digestive problems. In that sense, the first step is quite suggestive – you need to remove those foods from your diet that act as stressors on your bowels, causing inflammation and creating an environment that allows harmful parasites to thrive. These stressors may differ from person to person, but there are some known irritants that you should avoid, like coffee, black tea, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, processed foods, fats, and even certain cruciferous vegetables that make you bloat. If you feel any discomfort after a meal, this might be a sign of intolerance to certain foods. Stop eating them as well.
Step 2: Repair
After you have eliminated all the factors that were damaging to your intestines, you will already feel relief from symptoms such as gases or reflux. But you still need to address the damage that has been done to your intestine lining, because even if you are sticking to a good diet and do not experience any issues, damaged gastrointestinal wall means that you are not absorbing nutrients effectively, which may lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. To restore your gut health, I recommend SCD Lifestyle diet plan. It includes consuming food rich in L-glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins A, C, and E, aloe vera, and turmeric. These are all gut-friendly substances that help it heal, balance hormones, reduce inflammation, and support immune system.
Step 3: Restore
Next on the list is the restoration of the good bacterial flora. Roughly speaking, healthy bowels should contain about 85% of good bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. Our bowels also naturally contain bad bacteria, like salmonella and clostridium, but the good bacteria serve to fight them and prevent their overgrowth. As long as they are under control, you have no reason to worry. But when this balance is disturbed, it has to be restored artificially. This is achieved by introducing probiotics as food supplements. However, taking probiotics is just half the solution. You need to eat food packed with prebiotics and fibre for the good bacteria to feed and thrive on.
Step 4: Replace
Once you have established a proper dietary regime, last thing to do is to replace the nutrients that promote healthy digestion. By supplementing digestive enzymes and organic salt you maintain stable stomach acid levels, without which there is no effective digestion. This especially refers to proteins, one of the most important nutrients your body needs. Improper digestion again causes bloating, gas and reflux and it gets you back to square one. The stomach acid also kills pathogens that reach our gastrointestinal tract through the food we eat or from dirty hands, this way helping to keep the balance between the good and bad pathogens intact.
Are you experiencing any of the abovementioned issues? Do you think the 4 Rs could be an effective solution to the problem?
About the author
Amy Mia Goldsmith is a personal trainer and nutrition expert from the UK. Feel free to check out her blog Beausmith blog.