Do you carry painkillers, antacids and anti-inflammatory drugs around with you? Is your bathroom cupboard overflowing with quick fixes for headaches, indigestion and constipation or diarrhoea cures? Many people are reliant on these and do not realise that the answer to better health doesn’t lie with the regular ingestion of synthetic substances produced by the pharmacology industry. Better health comes from treating your body with care and from regularly providing it with the nutrients it needs to keep healthy. Over the last 10 years over 75 drugs have been changed from prescription only to over the counter – it is important that we know the side effects and contra-indications – if in doubt ask your pharmacist.
Usually we know what causes our digestive problems – if we have had far too much to drink and end up with our head down the toilet most of the night we know we don’t need a doctor; if we overslept, skipped breakfast and survived the day on multiple cups of coffee and a chocolate bar then we shouldn’t be surprised if we get hot sweats, the shakes, stomach ache and can’t sleep……most people abuse their digestive system on a regular basis and sometimes that abuse becomes the norm.
Our digestive systems are the front-line of the battlefield with stress, our interface with the outside world. When the system is working well it protects you, keeping what should be out – out and absorbing the fluids and nutrients that your body needs. It is a delicate balance and if we don’t react to symptoms in the right way we can end up with long-term problems and diseases.
Some common problems and quick nutritional fixes….
- Eaten too much or too heavy a meal
– go for a gentle walk, don’t lie down. Lying down can give you reflux and heartburn, going for a walk helps the digestive process.
– sip pineapple juice or an effervescent Vitamin C drink. Taking antacids can make things worse because you need stomach acids to digest the food.
- Indigestion or abdominal pain after a meal distended and windy or burping
– try strong peppermints, peppermint or anise tea or anise liqueur nothing works quicker with trapped wind.
- ‘Stressed’ guts – if we have been stressed or too busy to eat and drink properly our guts get inflamed and don’t work properly and this makes us more stressed. On a busy split -shift, during my nurse training, I could eat a whole box of chocolates – even down to the ones I didn’t like!
To get our digestion back on track as quickly as possible we need soothing remedies and easily digested foods.
Breakfast – leave the coffee and strong tea until later and have a mug of warm water with a slice of lemon and a little honey: a yogurt or a pro-biotic drink; a Vitamin B complex capsule (50 -75 mg preferably time-release); a flax seed oil capsule as a natural anti-inflammatory or a breakfast smoothie with ground up flax seeds in it (see recipe in a previous post) or cooked oats with a little honey or maple syrup.
Magnesium is essential for the enzyme systems in our digestive tract so make sure you get more magnesium by snacking on nuts like almonds, brazils etc. and eating leafy green vegetables and maybe a little dark chocolate ( 70% cocoa solids or more). If constipated a magnesium supplement is a gentle treatment.
If you have fruit juice only drink it in small quantities or dilute with water. Cut down on coffee, tea and alcohol and drink more water, herb teas or green tea. Jasmin tea is very relaxing and is a good one to try if you are not used to herbal teas.
Eat less but eat healthy protein and good fats, like avocado, olive or coconut oil – and don’t eat ‘on the run’. If you have been rushing to prepare a meal pause when you sit to eat – take a deep breath, close your eyes and be aware of the saliva flowing into your mouth and know that you are ready to enjoy your food. A few seconds taken like this can help your enjoyment and digestion. Try to eat ‘consciously’ as much as you can and if you are not enjoying it – don’t eat it!
If you can do this for a few days your whole body will feel better for it. Don’t go back to your old ways as soon as you feel better – incorporate some of these things on a regular basis and your energy levels will increase.