Integrative guide to digestive health - part two
To continue our gut health series for August, read on for part two of my tips for good gut health.
1. Ensure adequate hydration
Aiming for 2.5L (approx 84 ounces) of water per day can improve the health of your digestive system by improving bowel motility and preventing constipation. Dehydration can slow the transit time of your bowel movements, as well as prevent adequate flushing of toxins. The amount of water intake changes depending on exercise patterns, size of the person and the weather. As a general rule I recommending to aim for 2.5L/day to ensure good gut health.
2. Look after your mental health
It’s been found that there is an association between stress and digestive upset such as IBS. This comes back to point #1- if your body is in sympathetic dominance you don’t have the energy to adequately digest your food and absorb it’s nutrients. Psychological and digestive health go hand in hand – your serotonin (your ‘feel-good’ hormone’) actually lives in your digestive system. So it’s fair to say that an unhappy digestive system may be partly responsible for an unhappy mood.
3. Consume herbal medicine that has actions on the digestive system
Many plants contain active components that have the most incredible effects on our health. Some of the most easily accessible herbs are of the most beneficial; peppermint and fennel reduce gas and bloating, whereas liquorice root helps to soothe the lining of the digestive tract and reduce any inflammation. Chamomile is a favourite for IBS patients who’s symptoms worsen with stress – as it helps to both nourish the nervous and digestive systems, encouraging them to work in harmony together.
4. Take probiotics after a course of antibiotics
This is because unfortunately antibiotics aren’t selective with what they’ve been set out to kill off once they enter your digestive system. Anti-biotic means they wipe out bacteria, even the beneficial bacteria. This good bacteria is a very important part of your microbiota – which is your own little community of microorganisms that help to balance your digestive, nervous, endocrine and immune systems.