Digestion and Gut Health

Millions of us suffer from the symptoms of gut imbalance, such as indigestion, heart burn, constipation, leaky gut syndrome, gas, and bloating. It's such a common part of life that most people hardly question it, but the good news is, there is a solution to your gut health issues, and it doesn't require expensive and toxic medication.

What Our Guts Need to be Healthy

Like everything else in our bodies, our digestive tract is a complex system of checks and balances between bacteria and various compounds. If one or more of these checks is missing or too prolific, it can send the entire system off kilter.
Furthermore, chronic gut issues can be a sign of something more serious. Everything with our health begins with the gut. Our digestive system is our means of extracting nutrients from our food, which are the building blocks of our cells and cellular functions. Without proper absoption and distribution of these substances, our bodies will begin to break down, and this will manifest as illness.

Diet Plays a Monumental Role in Gut Health

The digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria, many of which are integral to our digestive process. Without them, digestion slows or malfunctions. Many medical sources will say to eat a diet rich in microbials to help restore the gut, and while this is somewhat useful, it is not the most holistic approach. In the wild, we would hardly be getting a decent supply of fermented foods like soy, or have access to kimchi or even yogurt. Ingesting probiotics does help if one is deficient in them, but it's more important to cultivate an enviornment in the gut where microbials will naturally flourish on their own.
In order to keep the gut healthy, you should limit your intake of processed foods, unnatural chemicals, and antibiotics. This is not to say if you are suffering from a life-threatening infection that you should eat some broccoli and call it a day - we must use common sense before all else - but don't go running to the Amoxicillin every time you have a sinus infection. Doing so annihilates the body's natural defenses and mechanisms, leaving you wide open for other illnesses to maifest.
Look at your body holistically. You are not just "you," in a manner of speaking. Your body plays host to trillions of microscopical creatures that exist in a symbiotic relationship with us. In order for our systems to work properly, they must too be nourished and cultivated like any other animal. Your answer to a bunch of harmful insects in your yard shouldn't be to set off a toxic gas grenade or micro-nuke, so why would you take the same approach to harmful bacteria? There are much better ways of going about healing the body 99% of the time.
That being said, diet goes a long way in balancing the gut. Vitamin rich vegetables such as leafy greens, antioxidant and phytonutrient-filled berries and teas will create an environment that will suppress harmful bacteria while promoting the growth of the good ones. It's also important that you limit your intake of meat and dairy if you are looking to quell your digestive problems. Let us take a deeper look at why.
The Trouble With Dairy
Most of the world is naturally lactose intolerant. If you've ever experienced bloating, gas, diarrhea, or indigestion after drinking milk, you're not alone. This is common sense though: milk is designed for baby mammals and baby mammals only. For a couple years. That's it. To make matters worse, we're drinking milk meant for baby cows, which has far more hormones and protein than we're supposed to be exposed to. These substances wreak havoc on the body as it is, but what is often overlooked is how much dairy messes with your intestinal flora.
As this study reveals, what we eat constantly changes the landscape of our inner biology. Bacteria and other microbes of all shapes and sizes come and go, thrive or die depending on what we put in our bodies. The enzymes in milk and other animal-based products promotes an assortment of bacteria growth that inhibits gut functionality, which is integral to our digestion.
What this means is, we simply can't digest the stuff without repercussions. Just doesn't work like that. even those of us who aren't classified as lactose intolerant encourage the spread of these bad bacteria in the gut, which overtakes our good flora, creating imbalances and health issues down the road. The less dairy you consume, the better.
But What About Meat?
Another bile-resistent bacteria promoter, meat in general is something that our bodies are ill-equipped to handle. Even while running at optimal efficiency, our digestive tract has a hell of a time trying to extract usable nutrients from meat while also keeping all of the deadly bacteria it contains at bay. To make matters worse, our stomach acid isn't as strong as a carnivore's or omnivore's, which means that more harmful bacteria slip through the cracks of our defenses.
The answer? Cut back on meat and other sources of animal protein. If you start consuming more raw fruits and vegetables, your gut imbalances will reduce, and you will naturally and holistically begin to heal. This isn't the answer everyone might want to hear, but if you suffer from gut problems, and you are taking all kinds of perscription drugs for everything from IBS to gas, you need to switch to a raw plant-based diet.

Herbal Remedies for Gut Health

When it comes to balancing the gut, there aren't really any "quick fixes," but there are a few herbs and other remedies that can provide temporary relief or help bring the gut back into balance. Use these as a supplement to a healthy diet for best results.
Slippery Elm
This plant has been used for centuries to remove irritation associated with conditions such as IBS and Lupus. There's evidence it may also aid in healing ulcers. It's high antioxidant levels bring balance to the digestive system and in turn the entire body. It's not always easy to find it in stores, being somewhat of an obscure herbal remedy, but we carry it right here.
A digestive mainstay, this common plant (not weed!) has long been used as a preventive measure against heartburn and other aches in the stomach and bladder. The best thing about this plant is that every part of it can be used, from the root to the leaves to the flower. The lactones present in dandelion assist the liver and bladder in its basic functions, as well as helping to regulate blood sugar.
Flax Seed
With their helpful ligans, fatty acids, and oils, flax seeds are especially suited for digestive health. The multi-functional and nutrient-dense nature of flax is what our digestive systems beg for. even if you're not one for herbal remedies or fancy smoothies, flax seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet. Toss a bunch into a salad, or sprinkle them in oatmeal. To really take advantage of their nutritional value, use ground flax for best results. You can add it to pretty much anything, even juice.
Aloe Vera
This powerful plant can assist in the healing of the intestinal lining lining, which can heal or even reverse leaky gut syndrome. This is important because when a person’s gut lining is not functioning properly, toxins can enter the bloodstream. Remember, the gut is the center of our bodily health. If it is damaged, it can effect our entire system. Aloe has the added benefit of relieving constiptation and detoxifying the body.

Take Charge of Your Digestive Health

It's popular these days to think of Gut Health as something not entirely in our control. People are constantly being diagnosed with all kinds of bizarre allergies and obscure diseases such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). You may feel powerless if you or someone you know has to deal with this on a daily basis.
What you have to remember is that none of this is normal or natural. These diseases arise because of living an unnatural lifestyle, specifically while eating an unnatural diet. A typical Western doctor may prescribe a bucketfull of meds for IBS alone, when the sad truth is, it's just a catch-all appellation that doctors and other professionals have given a wide-range of related symptoms of a malfunctioning gut. You can call it whatever you want, but what it is, is an imbalance brought about by putting things in your body that don't belong there.
You're not alone in the fight to fix your digestive system, but it all starts with standing up to the status quo and eating what your body wants, not just what society tells you to crave. Cutting out dairy completely often "cures" people of their digestive issues: this one act alone can do so much for you. Stop thinking this is normal behavior to drink the milk of cows. Our bodies were never designed for this nonsense. Instead of taking "gut relaxers" and pain medication and stool softeners and all of this other toxic crap prescribed by the medical industry, just give your body what it wants: fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber and nutrient-rich herbs. The results will shock you.

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