After months of the dreaded d-word, I hobbled into my local health food store for probiotics. IBS was no cakewalk, and my GI told me that those would help my stomach problems. At the checkout counter I saw a flier that, upon closer examination, started to gleam with a holy white light.
“Digestive health seminar,” I read aloud, surely giving away my ailments. I quickly decided I had nothing to lose and reserved a spot.
When I arrived, hardly anyone was there except for older folks. I guessed I was getting ahead in life. Once the seminar began, my insecurity dwindled and my life was changed.
The speaker drew from the research of Brenda Watson, CNC, of RenewLife ( http://www.renewlife.com/ ). I’m not much into medicines as much as finding natural, holistic means to improve my health. This had it all. The idea behind it was logical, sensible: Good health starts with good digestive health.
Think about it! It all begins with your gut. It absorbs nutrients. Its job helps you gain energy and helps you function. If it’s running smoothly, so are you. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating well if you’re not able to process and absorb food well.
The speaker went on to explain the four keys to helping digestion and thereby improving overall health:
- Omega-3 oil
not only give you a flatter tummy, but the good bacteria help boost the immune system. They help repair intestinal lining and function. They help with allergies and, ahem, women’s
health. They help with diarrhea, constipation, and all those yucky troubles. Look for lactobacillus and bifidus bacteria so you have the upper and lower digestive tract covered. I love eating yogurts for this.
- Omega-3 oil:
On the John Tesh radio show I heard that people who eat a diet rich in omega 3s, particularly salmon, generally tack on an extra 10 years to their lives! This is brain food but it also helps with the mucosa lining from the throat down to the colon, easing movement. If you’re vegetarian, chia and flax contain omega-3 oils. (Ladies: Chia has calcium.)
: You need enzymes for just about every bodily process! In foods you can get these from eating raw fruits and vegetables. My GI recommended a supplement with protease (for breaking down protein) and amylase and lipase too, but I try to get what I need through diet first and foremost. Enzymes help the breakdown of food and nutrient absorption and help speed up the metabolism.
With a diet rich in fiber, you can more easily eliminate toxins. This in turn helps reduce cancer risks and other illnesses. The speaker also said for each calorie of fiber you consume, you’re actually burning seven! You also lower cholesterol and balance sugars. It’s all-around awesome. Ideally, we should be getting 35 grams of fiber each day. Yeah, that’s probably more than you’re getting now.
I always think of ways I can combine the above components for better digestive health. Just this morning I had raw blueberries, Greek yogurt, honey, cinnamon, and chia seeds. Omega 3, fiber, enzymes, probiotics. Boom.
Why is this important, even if you don’t have IBS, Crohns, or chronic constipation? If your digestion and elimination isn’t smooth and consistent, you are more prone to fatigue, illness, and other setbacks that keep you from operating at your strongest. As a byproduct of improved digestion, you might even lose weight. Focus on bettering digestion and elimination and just see and feel how much better your workouts are!