The digestive system acts as the body’s second and brain and can therefore determine our mood, energy levels and emotions. Having a poor digestive system that is not operating in it’s best state can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, tiredness as well as causing poor liver function and altering the way we see our own body.
If you can relate to the crappy feeling of being bloated then you will understand how a poor digestive system can get you down.
According to Cassie Mendoza-Jones, Sydney nutritionist, “when we heal the gut, we are one step closer to healing ourselves”. Cassie stresses the importance of maintaining a good digestive system in order to feel good about our bodies but also to encourage the health functioning of the liver, kidneys, hormone levels and energy levels, “working on the gut really is the first stage on our overall health”.
On the road to recovery – here are some simple tips to start healing your digestive system.
When something isn’t right in your digestive system you’ll know about it. Whether you are experiencing symptoms such as queasiness, bloating, aching, constipation or gas, you will know for sure that something needs to change. Irritable bowel syndrome is what doctors will diagnose when they are also aware that something isn’t functioning properly in your gut. Luckily, we have herbs and natural remedies that can ease the discomfort and help your digestive system back on track to achieving healthy functioning.
Decrease inflammation and hypersensitivity
Mendoza-Jones believes that anti-inflammatory herbal medicines are a great way to settle the stomach. Turmeric is a wonderful herb to reduce inflammation all over the body, “you can cook with turmeric powder by adding it to stir-fries, curries, and sprinkling it on chicken breast or fish before grilling”. Alternatively she recommends adding turmeric to hot water with lemon, ginger and honey to sip on.
Promote healthy bacteria
In the stomach we have good and bad bacteria, which play a significant role in breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Good bacteria helps break down the hard-to-digest foods and bad bacteria releases toxins which will create health problems in the gut. It’s important to “feed” the good bacteria so that they override the bad bacteria and this can also be done by taking herbs.
Cassie recommends garlic as “an effective remedy against bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections”, “raw garlic, when crushed, releases allicin, which has been shown to be more powerfully antibiotic then penicillin and medical antibiotics”. Garlic will help improve digestion, relieve wind and enhance absorption of nutrients.
Support the nervous system
Because poor digestive function is associated with depression, anxiety and stress, it’s vital that the nervous system is supported and well looked after. Cassie believes your mood will affect your bowel habits and so depression can slow things down while anxiety may speed things up. For stress, Cassie recommends oats, St John’s Wart and chamomile. If you are feeling fatigued go for licorice root, American ginseng and rhodiola (all can be found at your local health food store). If you are feeling down lavender oil can be a great mood increaser. Try burning some lavender oil in an oil burner or sprinkling a few drops in the bath.
How are you going to improve your digestive health?
BB Intern Lauren Walker
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