Something To Chew On
Birds do it, bees do it, not sure exactly how fleas do it: but everyone everywhere somehow deals with the business of taking in nourishment.
Considering that the proper functioning of the digestive system is vital to maintaining life, it’s amazing how many people’s systems don’t function well at all. Working in the health industry, you could sometimes be forgiven for thinking that the entire world suffers from IBS. And quite apart from the ubiquitous Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there are many other digestive complaints, ranging from the person whose bowel moves twice per year (ow!) to the person who fears they may be part man, part bunny, so rabbit-like are their droppings.
A list of common problems
- Acid reflux
- Acid indigestion
- Wind – uncomfortable and socially embarrassing
- Bloating – you leave the house in the morning with a flat stomach and return at night feeling six month's pregnant
Diarrhoea may also be a problem, but it is often linked to long term constipation, which needs to be treated to resolve the congestion and irritation that is causing the diarrhoea.
Why They Happen?
- Most common factor: we don’t take time to eat. We rush around like distracted ducks, and as a consequence the digestive system is never operating at full power because the body is putting all available resources into motoring us along.
- Similarly, stress is a fairly inevitable part of most digestive complaints. What you may not realise is that when adrenalin is flooding your system, your digestive system is to all intents and purposes shut down. You can either panic or eat, not both: that’s the way your body sees it. Long term stress, where you’re forever juggling tasks or running on deadlines means that your digestive system is fairly regularly switched off at the mains, seriously hampering your digestive abilities.
- A sluggish bowel contributes significantly to most digestive disasters, including wind and bloating. If you eat two to three times per day then your bowel should move at least once, preferably twice, per day. If it doesn’t, the accumulated faecal matter hangs around putrefying and fermenting, causing mayhem and providing ideal breeding grounds for unfriendly bacteria. Once those bacteria have got a hold, they knock out the friendly ones that the digestive tract relies on to keep the guts sweet.
I’ll never forget the journalist who told me he “didn’t have time” to go to the loo twice a day. Please, if going to the loo twice eats into your day then something is seriously adrift and you should address the problem as a matter of some urgency!
It has been said before by wiser and more tactful people than I: the piles of literature to be found in the average UK bathroom bear silent witness to the disastrous state of the UK bowels. A bowel movement shouldn’t take you long enough to plough through even a page of your favourite comic! If it does, please, check through the remedy section below!
What You Can Do About It?
There are several very simple lifestyle changes you can implement to prevent digestive doom. For a start, sit down to eat, always, every time… Chew your food – it’s completely free and it has an amazing impact on most digestive problems. Chew each mouthful at least 20 times and be thrilled by the improvements you feel. Shoulders back – allow your stomach, which is up under your ribcage, room to start the digestive process, by making sure you’re not slumped over squashing your stomach and lungs into a matchbox-sized space. Don’t drink with your meal, as taking large quantities of liquid in with your food dilutes your digestive juices and makes digestion less effective. And most importantly, get that bowel moving!
Here are my favourite remedies to help you achieve digestive harmony.
- Try a mild laxative containing Frangula and Cascara to get the bowel moving regularly and effectively. It won’t glue you to the loo, but it works well and you can take more or less of the tablets according to need.
- Centaurium tincture for avoiding acid reflux and acid indigestion. This bitter-tasting tincture kick-starts the digestive process and ensures that the right amount of digestive enzymes are present at the right time to break your food down efficiently. It is great for a hiatus hernia too.
- Molkosan Vitality, a food supplement, helps revitalise good bacteria so that you can enjoy better digestion and increased vitality.