Our digestive systems are very complex and sensitive. This is why, at some points in our life, we can develop short or long term digestive problems. The lifestyle choices we choose and the types of food we consume can contribute greatly to the health of our digestive systems preventing or contributing to problems such as intolerance, increased acid or alkaline levels, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Being mindful of the foods we eat and our consumption habits can help improve the health of our digestive system and there’s an approach we can all follow that can help to improve the digestion process and that’s called the “4Rs”.
The first step is to remove any foods that are known to contribute to bad digestive health. These are usually trigger foods and beverages that cause negative reactions in the gut such as alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, and sugar-loaded items. Other triggers could be diary or gluten which can be temporarily removed to see if they are having any effect.
The second step is to start a healing process whereby you consume a clean diet full of unprocessed foods to rid the body of toxins that are harmful to the gut and promote healing in any damaged areas of the digestive system. Consuming extra vitamins and minerals that help towards good gut health such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, turmeric and aloe vera. Replacing toxic ingredients with healthy alternatives with added boosts will give the body time to heal and repair itself.
The bacteria in our gut is very sensitive and the amount of ‘good bacteria’ is essential for a healthy digestive system. Restoring this optimal bacteria flora is the next step in the 4Rs process. Introducing probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis found in certain yoghurts, in fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut, and also in tablet form, will help to reinforce the good bacteria levels and promote a maintained gut health.
The last step is to make sure bile salts, digestive enzymes, and hydrochloric acid levels (stomach acid) are at their optimal peak for a fully functional and healthy digestive process. Taking supplements containing digestive enzymes and replacing processed salt with organic sea salt is key to stimulating the growth of the digestive enzymes living in the gut. This is crucial because digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid work hand in hand to break down food and create a healthy digestive process.