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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Keep your tummy happy to live a healthy life

S76127B
ADVICE: Georgie Wingfield Hayes

By Jo Davies

QUALIFIED nutritionist, Georgie Wingfield Hayes shares her tips on diet, health and wellbeing in a new column. You can find her in Appleseeds Health Store, Ulverston, every Thursday between 10am and midday. She will be showing the film The Greater Good at Ford Park, tomorrow at 7.30pm. This week learn how to improve your digestion and improve your life.

WE are what we eat... but only if we can digest and assimilate it.

Digestion is the key to good health in more ways than you might possibly imagine.

From sleep problems to auto-immune disease, digestive issue can be the root cause of many health problems.

Ninety-five per cent of the sleep regulating neurotransmitter serotonin, is found in the gut.

So if you suffer insomnia, then gut problems could be the cause.

Eighty per cent of immune system action occurs in the digestive system. The gut and the biota (mainly bacteria) that reside there are our frontline of defence. This is where allergies and auto-immune problems can start. Simple dehydration in the colon can cause allergies.

More serious auto-immune diseases can be because of imbalances in gut biota and foods that cause inflammation.

Each one of us has a mini-ecosystem in our gut. If that ecosystem gets out balance then problems can occur. Digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis are commonly due to this. Bizarre experiments have happened where faecal matter is taken from healthy individuals and inserted into the colon of sick people. Improvements have been seen in conditions ranging from Parkinson’s, MS and rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes and obesity. The simple explanation being, a lack of good gut biota allows the bad guys to get a hold.

Keys to keeping a health digestive system

Chewing is really important to start the digestion process. Our saliva is full of enzymes – so important for breaking down our food.

The acidic environment in the stomach continues digestion. If you suffer from weakness of digestion in the stomach, then dietary changes are a good idea. Simple food combining (carbs away from protein) and upping your intake of raw foods will help.

The small intestine fills with bile from the gall badder. Weakness in digestion here can cause nausea, tiredness or the feeling of a lead weight in the gut, especially after eating fats. This indicates a lack of vitality in the liver and gall bladder.

Bitter foods and herbs like watercress, rocket, dandelion, artichoke and milk thistle will help stimulate liver function and alleviate discomfort.

Finally the colon. The home of our friendly bacteria. These guys love vegetables – leafy greens, onions and garlic are some of their favourite foods. They definitely don’t like antibiotics or too much wheat or dairy foods. These will cause them to struggle for survival and give the advantage to their unfriendly foes. A good quality probiotic supplement is an essential part to healing almost anything in the body. And probiotic (cultured) foods like kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut are fabulous living foods that give you vitality and keep your tummy happy.

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