Have you ever been diagnosed with fatty liver, gallstones, IBS, GORD, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, reflux, indigestion or heartburn, gas, bloating, pain, cramps, constipation or diarrhoea? These are just some of the myriad of symptoms we can experience when our gut is unhappy!
This may be due to a lack of digestive enzymes in our stomachs to help break down our food properly – unfortunately we produce less and less of these digestive enzymes as we age. Food that hasn’t been digested properly can cause a build-up of waste in the lower digestive tract and colon that continues to ferment and decay, causing us even further discomfort.
However, one of the main reasons we may suffer some of the above symptoms are our poor eating habits.
Only 7% of Australian adults eat the recommended 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Yes - you read that correctly!
We may be consuming an excess of sugar, saturated and trans fats, alcohol, artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives (ie ‘fake’ foods devoid of nutrients), whilst not obtaining sufficient protein, vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and water alongside complex carbohydrates and fibre to move things along our digestive tracts. Some people may suffer from intolerances to common foods such as wheat, dairy, soy and eggs, which may explain some of their digestive discomfort also.
Our lower digestive tract should be teeming with microbial life – of the good kind! The gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in our overall health, especially our immune health. In fact, around 80% of our natural immunity stems from having a strong healthy gut. Beneficial bacteria supports our digestion by breaking down food even further (and they even manufacture some of our vitamins!) High stress levels, antibiotics and a poor diet can promote the overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria. An imbalance of bad bacteria can contribute to weight gain, high sugar and high cholesterol levels.
Optimal digestion and elimination should be the top priority on any holistic wellness journey.
So how can we improve our gut microbiome, digestion, immunity and health?
Lowering our stress levels, eating well and including fermented foods into our daily diet will go a long way to improving digestion, reducing the incidence of developing those uncomfortable symptoms and disorders as listed above, and optimising our overall health.
One tip is to not only eat more fruits and vegetables, but to eat them raw as well. When we heat vegetables in the cooking process, we destroy not only some of the delicate vitamins (such as vitamin c), but the natural digestive enzymes the plant contains also. Hence improving our digestion can be as simple as regularly eating a salad entrée before our main meal.
We can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut by consuming fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha and kefir. These foods naturally contain billions of the ‘good’ bacteria our bodies need.
Another wonderful healing food is bone broth. There are numerous health benefits to consuming a mineral rich broth containing amino acids such as collagen, glutathione and glutamine, which essentially ‘heals and seals’ an inflamed digestive tract, lowering inflammation and fighting off infection. The main difference between stock and a good broth is the length of time you cook it – the longer you cook the broth, the more minerals and healing amino acids are extracted from the contents.
Here is my recipe for a simple bone broth made in a slow cooker:-
Please note I recommend using all organic ingredients if possible to reduce the amount of artificial hormones, pesticides, herbicides etc in your gut healing broth. I save all my organic vegetable scraps and just place them in a freezer bag until needed.
Bones such as an organic, free range chicken carcass
Dash of apple cider vinegar
Celtic or Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker or large stock pot with enough water to generously cover all the ingredients.
Bring up to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer slowly for 5-7 hours (or even longer), keeping an eye on the water level, ensuring it is covering all of the ingredients.
Optional extras include additional garlic, onions, herbs and spices such as turmeric to enhance the immune building properties of the broth. You can enjoy as much of this as you like - drink it as is, or add to any of your savoury recipe dishes in place of water to boost its nutritional content.
If you need further support with your digestion, you can contact the author here:
LEAD WITH PURPOSE.