Bloating, indigestion, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome are some of the most common conditions I see in my clinic.  So many people just don’t feel comfortable in their digestive tract.  This is a shame because indigestion can spoil your day and ruin the enjoyment of eating.  It’s also unhealthy to suffer these kinds of digestive problems; they are your body’s signal that something is wrong.  You cannot be entirely healthy if you have poor digestion.  It is usually a sign there is too much Candida, yeast or bad bacteria growing in your digestive system, and that you are not extracting nutrients from your foods adequately.

What causes digestive problems?

In most cases, digestive problems are caused by eating foods that you cannot digest properly, or eating in a manner that doesn’t allow proper digestion.  The most common foods that cause digestive problems are dairy products and gluten.  Many people do not digest these foods properly and they are the most common cause of reflux, heart burn, abdominal bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.  Other foods have the potential to cause problems and they include soy, nuts, eggs and FODMAPs (fermentable fibers).  It is best to get help from a naturopath or nutritionist when trying to work out a food intolerance.

Many people eat on the run, or while they are busy working, driving, reading or otherwise distracted.  If you want to feel well after eating, you need to eat in a peaceful, unhurried manner.  Try to remove yourself from as many distractions as possible and just focus on chewing, tasting and enjoying your meal.  People who eat slowly get far more enjoyment from their food and they usually end up eating less, therefore are often not overweight.

Consequences of poor digestion

If you don’t digest your food adequately, the bacteria and yeast in your intestines will feast on it.  This promotes the overgrowth of bad bugs in your bowel.  These bugs secrete gases which leave you bloated and can give you abdominal cramps.  The bugs also secrete toxins that gain entry into your bloodstream.  Once there, they can give you a foggy head, make you tired and irritable and even give you a headache.  You will end up with a very toxic bowel which will leave you feeling very unwell.

How to improve your digestion

The following tips should help you feel much more comfortable after meals.

  • Do a trial elimination diet for a month.  Eliminate gluten and dairy products from your diet, as well as any other foods you suspect make you feel unwell.  Be careful and read food labels thoroughly because even ingesting tiny amounts can ruin the trial.
  • Take a good quality comprehensive digestive enzymes supplement.  This will help you extract more nutrients from the food you eat.  That means less bloating and wind afterwards.  If you are taking stomach acid suppressing medication, abdominal bloating can become even worse.  You need hydrochloric acid to digest protein properly.  My digestive enzyme capsules contain hydrochloric acid and should make you much more comfortable after meals.   By getting more nutrients out of your food, a digestive enzyme supplement should also greatly improve your energy level.  Digestive enzymes are especially helpful to take when a meal is unavoidably rushed.  Some days are incredibly busy and you really only have five minutes to stop and eat.  Taking 2 capsules with that meal should help greatly.  You can also take digestive enzymes when you plan to overindulge; such as a family gathering or a restaurant meal.
  • If you have the symptoms of a toxic colon, you would greatly benefit from taking a course of Colon Detox capsules.  Colon toxicity can cause symptoms like foul smelling flatulence, constipation or diarrhea, foggy head, mood disorders and aching joints.  Colon Detox capsules have a cleansing effect on your colon and promote thorough elimination of the stool.
  • Take a good quality liver tonic like Livatone.  The herbs and taurine in Livatone promote increased bile production and secretion into the intestines.  You need bile in order to digest fat properly.  People who don’t digest fat properly can suffer with stomach pains and diarrhoea after a fatty meal, or nausea or discomfort in the right upper side of the abdomen.  People with a fatty liver usually have poor digestion because their liver struggles with the ability to produce enough bile.
  • Sip on a little apple cider vinegar in warm water before meals.  Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to ¼ cup of warm water before a meal.  The natural acids in the vinegar will help your stomach to digest protein.
  • Probiotics help to reduce the risk of harmful parasitic gut infections that can cause all sorts of digestive problems. They also help to regulate normal intestinal contractions, thereby reducing the risk of constipation or diarrhea. Probiotics are found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, or in supplement form.
  • FODMAPs are specific types of fiber in many foods that are notorious for causing abdominal bloating. They can also alter your bowel habits to produce either constipation or diarrhea. If you continue to suffer with digestive problems after following all the recommendations above, it may be worth trying a low FODMAP diet. You can find information about this diet here.

With the right remedies, you should be able to maintain a flat, comfortable tummy after every meal.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.