Burping, acidity, constipation & diarrhoea are common digestive issues that many of us face either sporadically or for long periods. We either choose to ignore these issues or try to obtain fast relief by taking antacids, stool softeners coupled with other digestive medications, which leaves the root cause of the problem untreated. These symptoms are a result of our body’s negative feedback, indicating an unhealthy gut, impaired digestion and absorption of food leading to improper nourishment of cells, accumulation of cell toxins and ultimately cell death. Also, working in the background is the mind-gut connection; where an unhealthy gut signals the mind to secrete chemicals that leads to mood swings, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, and mind fog. The bacteria in the gut is your second mind, there is a direct correlation between healthy gut bacterial counts and a healthy mind.
Let’s attempt to understand the process of digestion in our gut. Digestion starts in the mouth with the chewing of the food. Partially digested food from the mouth passes through the oesophagus by peristalsis (movement of the muscles to push the food forward) and reaches the stomach. The upper muscle in the stomach relaxes to let food enter, and lower stomach muscle mixes food with the stomach juices. Food and stomach acids reach the small and large intestine through peristalsis where the enzymes from the pancreas and liver break the food to an even smaller size or a more absorbable form.
If any of these processes (i.e. improper chewing, unhealthy muscles of the gut leading to low peristalsis, hyperacidity in the stomach, unhealthy bacteria in intestines, damaged liver/ pancreas) exist, then we are at a high risk for digestive issues which would need immediate attention.
Superfoods in conjugation with certain healthy eating habits can be your only cure for long term gut healing.
Gut healer Remedy 1-
Chewing your food-
Chewing is a vital part of digestion and is always underestimated. As suggested by Health Expert Luke Coutinho “The simple act of chewing food in your mouth helps break down larger particles of food into smaller particles. This helps in reducing the stress on the oesophagus and thereby helps the stomach to properly metabolize your food”4
Ensure you’re chewing every morsel of food before swallowing and put down your fork/knife in between bites. Avoid eating food in front of the TV as that would deceive your mind into thinking you have consumed lesser food. This practice can reduce the incidence of indigestion, bloating, overeating and primarily ensure the absorption of all nutrients. 4
Gut Healer Remedy 2-
Increase Intake of Probiotics/ Good Gut bacteria-
Healthy gut bacteria present in foods not only hasten digestion but also heal the wounded digestive cells. Curds, Kefir, Kambucha Tea, Sauerkraut, and Kimchee are some of the foods that naturally contain healthy bacteria that replenish the number of good bacteria in the gut . These gut bacteria form our natural defence against ingested toxins and bacteria thereby increasing our immunity. Supplementing with commercially available Probiotic supplements can also be an effective remedy to many disease conditions that require faster gut healing.
Gut Healer Remedy 3-
Prebiotics to facilitate good bacteria growth-
Did you know? Fibre-rich foods not only bind to fat and decrease fat absorbed from food but act as food for healthy bacterial colonies by fermentation in the intestine due to their inability to digest. These colonies, in turn, reduce the pH of the intestine making it hospitable for good bacteria to thrive and maximize absorption and utilization of all nutrients. Fibre-rich foods like Oat bran, wheat bran, buckwheat, green leafy vegetables, gourd vegetables, papayas, melons, chia seeds, flaxseeds, coriander seeds, psyllium husk/Isabgul are the best plausible way to increase fibre in the diet.
Gut Healer Remedy 4-
Regular Exercise or Yoga-
Healthy muscles of the oesophagus, stomach and intestine will ensure effective movement of food in the digestive tract. Ageing, lack of physical activity, decrease in good microorganisms cause the muscles to weaken. Combing healthy pre and probiotics consumption with effective physical activity like brisk walking coupled with weight training can do the trick by strengthening your stomach muscles and help good bacteria thrive.
Gut healer Remedy 5-
Indian spices can heal naturally-
Grandma’s age-old remedies can be equally effective in today’s times. Few are; Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, reduce symptoms like stomach pain, gas, indigestion, nausea and bloating. Aloe-Vera contains phytochemicals, antioxidants, enzymes that soothe digestion. Cumin Seeds/Carom seeds contain Thymol that stimulates the secretion of acids, bile, and enzymes responsible for complete digestion of the food in the stomach and intestines. Consuming a cup of ginger, cumin and carom tea can aid in relieving many digestive symptoms.
Footnote -“Understand your food intolerances”. Common food intolerances are wheat, milk, nuts, and fish.
Healthy gut produces a healthy mind
Combining these gut healing remedies with a balanced diet, restful sleep, and proper hydration will heal you inside out leaving you feeling happier and healthier.