To recap, from part I, digestion is paramount for our immune system and health.
If the stomach does not have enough hydrochloric acid, (HCL), to break down food, and probiotics to enhance the immune system and protect us from foreign invaders, a domino effect occurs.
This domino effect starts with undigested food and nutrients improperly assimilated for the cells, which include cells of the gut that replace themselves every four days. If the gut can’t get the nutrients to repair itself then things like Leaky Gut, and IBS can develop. Then digestion is further decreased and less nutrients are delivered to our cells, which leads to a compromised immune system and a nutrient deficient body. Now our body is an unprotected fortress open for attack and vulnerable to disease.
Over processed and fast foods do not supply the nutrients needed to rebuild the cells in our body and can decrease the bodies production of HCL. Also, the older we get, there is less HCL and enzymes available. Only fresh, raw food, like fruit and vegetables contain enzymes to help assimilate it. So when we eat processed foods, the body has to tap into its reserves of enzymes from the pancreas to digest that fake food. This eventually creates stress on the pancreas which can lead to many other maladies because now the food cannot be further broken down in the small intestine.
So what can we do? If you have acid indigestion, Pepcid, Prevacid or other medications only further stop acid the body needs to digest. So instead, try a tablespoon of vinegar, (or dill pickle juice) before meals.
You can also buy Betaine HCL tablets and take them with meals. Just increase the dose until you no longer have indigestion, and/or the bloating and gas is eliminated. If you feel any burning when you poop, you probably took too much HCL. Just cut back on the dose. DON’T TAKE HCL IF YOU HAVE OR SUSPECT YOU HAVE AN ULCER! If you have been diagnosed with an ulcer, your digestive tract needs to heal and repair. Carrots and celery in homemade soups are very soothing to the digestive system. Vegetable soups, and homemade bone broth are good to eat while your gut lining heals. Taking digestive enzymes will also help your body digest food and increase healing. Please see a natural health practitioner to help heal you heal and repair.
A holistic practitioner can help get your digestion get back on track, especially if they use whole food supplements. (See article on Vitamins).
If you have ever taken antibiotics, you need to re-inhabit your probiotic population. Sources of probiotics, (good bacteria) include fermented foods like Brewer’s yeast, miso, sauerkraut (in a jar and preferably refrigerated), microalgae, raw organic dairy, raw honey, and yogurt. Many commercial yogurts are heat-treated or pasteurized, which kill these valuable cultures, so always look for “live and active cultures” on yogurt labels. Avoid any Low Fat versions. Full fat, low sugar is best with yogurt. You can also take a high quality probiotic supplement from a reliable companies like these:
- www.Standard Process.com ‘Prosymbiotic’
- www.DrBenKim.com (see his list of probiotics)
- Prescript Assist Probiotics (Find them on Google) These are just a few examples
For even healthier probiotic friends, feed them P-R-E-biotics. Prebiotics nourish the good bacteria in your gut and give them a good home to live and breed. Prebiotics are found in bananas, whole sprouted grains, raw uncooked honey, garlic, onions, inulin, and fiber. These should go hand-in-hand with probiotics. (See The GAPS diet reference below.)
Try to get two to four servings of these prebiotics, and probiotic rich foods a day. Of course eliminate over processed foods, and increase whole unaltered foods, and eat twice as many fresh vegetables as fruits.
It is amazing to me how many backup mechanisms and reserves the body has, but only for so long. There is more and more proof today that most disease manifests from the body not having the nutrients it needs to heal and repair, either from deficient diets, or the body’s inability too digest the food we eat properly.
I always welcome comments, or suggestions for future topics. JillRN50@gmail.com