Digestive Health

All diseases begin in the gut.

This statement was made more than two thousand years ago by Hippocrates, who is often referred to as the Father of Western Medicine. In spite of this, it is still common for people to ignore what is happening inside their own bodies - the adage "out of sight, out of mind" certainly seems to apply here! This trend is changing as Nutritionists and Medical professionals are now linking digestive health to a whole host of health conditions.

Digestion and Bowel Flora can hold the key to your Health

Despite its complexity, the human body has a simple mandate. We are designed to take in food, break this down, absorb the nutrients for energy, growth and repair, and eliminate the waste products. If any part of this process is not working effectively, the health of other parts of the body may be compromised.  

Our digestion would not function without the trillions of beneficial bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract. They play a vital role in digestion, absorption and elimination. They are also able to synthesise several of the B vitamins and Vitamin K inside the colon. Beneficial flora underpin the health of the gut, and the gut underpins the health of the rest of the body. One of the most effective things that you can do for your health is to look after these beneficial micro-organisms.

Ways to help Support your Gut Flora 

Choose a high-quality pro-biotic supplement: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Acidophilus are common species, and may offer some benefits for your gut flora. The broader the spectrum of bacteria, the better. Choose pro-biotic yoghurts with no added sugar or sweeteners.

Reduce your sugar intake to minimal levels: sugar feeds non-beneficial bacteria and yeasts. If sugar levels remain high alongside the use of pro-biotics, little or no benefit can be expected.

Maximise fresh vegetables: vegetable sugars are naturally pre-biotic; in other words, they feed beneficial bacteria. An ideal approach is to eat 50% of vegetables raw and 50% steamed.

Eat fruit in moderation: fruit is an essential part of a balanced diet, full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. If you suffer from bloating or gas, it is advisable to eat fruit in moderation, as fruit sugars can support unwanted yeast.

Use Xylitol in place of sugar: Xylitol is a natural sugar extracted from plant fibres. It is a good alternative to sugar because it has been shown to be naturally pre-biotic. Avoid using synthetic sweetening agents.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52 8JY
Written by Dr Jane Pugh, BSc (Hons), PhD, PG Dip, mBANT, regCNHC, mNNA
Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52 8JY

I work as a Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioner supporting clients who are experiencing a wide range of health issues to achieve improved health and well-being. Using an evidence-based scientific approach to nutrition I work with my clients to identify the factors promoting their health issu...


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