The old saying goes, “you are what you eat”. Well, there’s truth to that statement. On a molecular level, we are either creating healthy or unhealthy cells through our food choices. We’re either supporting the natural function of our organs and digestive system, or we’re wreaking havoc on it. The bottom line is the foods we consume play a big role in our overall health and wellness.
To help you learn how to improve your digestion, enhance your well-being, and create a healthier body, I’ve asked several nutritional experts to weigh in on this important subject. In today’s wellness guide, learn 3 ways to use medicinal foods to improve your digestion, create optimal gut health, and help you feel great.
Your Digestive Health Affects Your Overall Wellness
From symptoms like leaky gut syndrome and bloating to indigestion, IBS, and bacterial overgrowth (such as candida or yeast), many of these common digestive problems can be minimized or eradicated through a change of diet.
As Lisa Richards (a leading Nutritionist and the author behind The Candida Diet) says, “your gut health is vital to your overall health. By improving the health of your gut, you are bringing balance back to your life and preventing/reducing bloat, indigestion, fatigue, nausea, gas, diarrhea, yeast infections, and general unwellness.”
Drink Bone Broth
After learning about the gut health benefits of drinking bone broth from Dr. Josh Axe (a doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic, and clinical nutritionist), I have since incorporated it into my diet and felt better than ever. I add it to my smoothies and use it for cooking foods (especially when sauteeing vegetables).
Alicia Galvin (an integrative and functional Registered Dietician at Sovereign Laboratories whose interests include addressing gastrointestinal disease, autoimmunity, and chronic inflammatory conditions through nutrition and diet) says, “bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals. This process extracts more nutrients from the bones, like glycine, which is found in the gelatin. Gelatin can also bind to water in your digestive tract to help foods move through your gut more easily. It has been shown to protect the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. Glutamine, an amino acid found in gelatin, is the main fuel source of intestinal cells and helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall and improve gut hyper-permeability, or ‘leaky gut’. Use bone broth instead of regular broth in soups, stews, and in making sauces.”
Get Your Daily Dose of Prebiotics & Probiotics
Jesse P. Houghton, MD, FACG (a Senior Medical Director of Gastroenterology at Southern Ohio Medical Center) says, “Probiotics are products that contain beneficial bacteria that are healthy for our digestive system. Another term that is being used often these days is prebiotics, which are food sources that help our good bacteria thrive.” Of course, we can buy OTC products that have the pre and probiotics already packaged for us, and for many, that can help with their digestive issues. If one would rather obtain beneficial bacteria via foods, there are several products that can replace a probiotic in a capsule.”
Below are foods that contain probiotics:
Consume Digestive Enzymes
Dr. Len Lopez (a Nutritionist and Chiropractic Sports Physician with 25-years experience) says, “Digestive enzymes help with digestive problems, especially when eating processed, cooked food, and/or anything with protein because hydrochloric acid is probably the hardest biochemical reaction that your body has to go through.”
As explained in an article by Healthline, “Many organs work together to make up your digestive system. These organs take the food and liquids you eat and break them down into simpler forms, such as proteins, carbs, fats, and vitamins. The nutrients are then transported across the small intestine and into the bloodstream, where they provide energy for growth and repair. Digestive enzymes are necessary for this process, as they break down molecules like fats, proteins, and carbs into even smaller molecules that can be easily absorbed.”
Natural foods that contain digestive enzymes include:
To learn more about healthy foods and plant-based recipes that can improve your digestion and gut health, check out the Diet & Nutrition section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
[Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or health conditions. Consult with a registered dietician or physician about any health concerns you have.]