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GI – Gastrointestinal Tract


Gastrointestinal tract health is critical to your overall well-being. We are made of 75 trillion cells, and the nourishment of these cells is affected by how healthy our gastrointestinal tract is. The health of your colon affects everything else in your body. If you’re not absorbing your food, medication and supplements properly, you are in survival mode.

How healthy is your colon? How well are you absorbing food? The average American suffers from several gastrointestinal problems. These are the main four:

  1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux
  2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  3. Constipation
  4. Diarrhea

This article will discuss how to keep your colon healthy, thus bettering your overall health. There’s a saying that goes, “death begins in the colon.” The inability to assimilate nutrients or reabsorption of toxins is bad for your health.

GERD

50% of people suffer from silent GERD, which means they suffer GERD without being aware of it. If you suffer from GERD, there are several things you can do to better your condition.

  • To remain healthy, it is important to properly digest food. Many of us consume packaged, processed and canned foods. They’re devoid of enzymes that aid in digestion. Fresh fruits and vegetables, even meat, all digest themselves and this is why it’s important to eat natural, unprocessed food when possible.
  • Those suffering from GERD or acid reflux may supplement with digestive enzymes unless also suffering from an ulcer. Avoid drinking liquids with your meals, however. At the very most, you can drink 4 ounces of liquids. Liquids can dilute your stomach acid, which prevents you from digesting your food and lessens your digestive capacity. In addition, when you’re drinking liquids, you are not chewing, which is critical to good digestion.
  • Remember to avoid drinking liquids 2-3 hours before going to sleep. Avoid caffeine, mints and chocolate after eating dinner. You should also avoid consuming caffeine after lunch. These foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter right by the stomach that goes up the esophagus and causes you to percolate. 25% of cases of chronic pharyngitis, laryngitis and sleep apnea are related to acid reflux.
  • Elevate the head of the bed when you sleep. Gravity works to keep acid in your stomach.
  • Losing weight also helps. If you lose weight around your abdomen, it lessens the pressure on your stomach. Get checked for sleep apnea if you snore, stop and start breathing in your sleep or constantly wake up tired. If you’re periodically stopping breathing while sleeping, this causes you to breathe harder, thus making acid come up in your throat. This acid reflex erodes away at your esophagus and increases your risk for getting esophageal cancer.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The name of the condition “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” indicates the nature of the condition: your bowels are irritated. Eating food that is irritating to your system can cause this condition. A simple food allergy test that lists 96 foods and gives you a score of low, no, moderate or high reveals delayed or hidden food allergies. Food allergy tests can be ordered directly as a consumer. This helps you get insights on whether you’re choosing food that’s good for you.

Supplement with digestive enzymes and friendly flora. Friendly flora protects your body from bad bacteria and fungus that enters your system. Smaller meals can be helpful. Minimize your carbohydrates to avoid bloating, feeding the bacteria and further irritating your system.

Constipation

When you have irritable bowel syndrome, you move from constipation to diarrhea because your bowels are irritated. How do you know you’re constipated? When you’re moving your bowels every other day, even if it is regular, you may be constipated. It is advisable to have 2-3 bowel movements a day. Otherwise, your bowel movement is drier and the moisture in the stool is reabsorbed into your body. Not only would a good detoxification program work, you want to make sure that your colon is working well. You want to be sure that you’re properly hydrated. This flushes out toxins. Taking magnesium also helps because it relaxes your muscles and pulls water into your colon. Vitamin C also keeps your bowels moving (just don’t consume too much as it may cause diarrhea).

If you have a slow thyroid, you may also be suffering from slow bowel movements and dry skin. You need to speed up your thyroid and your metabolism. Make sure your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level is between 1 and 2 ½.

Increase friendly flora while lessening bananas, cheese and red meat. The “BRAT” diet, which simply means bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, while recommended to combat diarrhea, should be avoided when suffering constipation.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is the exact opposite of constipation. When you’re constipated, you’re absorbing muddy water. Your body becomes similar to a toxic waste dump. When you have diarrhea, what you eat is not absorbed by your body; instead it goes through and is excreted. Whatever you’re taking in, whether it’s your medication, supplements or nutrients, is not absorbed by your body. This is also called malabsorption. Your bowels are moving very quickly.

When diarrhea occurs, it is recommended that you get a stool analysis in order to determine if you have bad bacteria or fungus. Find out what’s causing the problem.

If you know that you don’t have colitis, also look at food allergies, which can cause a lot of problems. Once you determine which foods you’re allergic to, you know to avoid them, thus helping prevent diarrhea. For example, if you have sensitivity to dairy, it would do you good to reduce or eliminate dairy from your diet. Remember that sensitivity to dairy and lactose intolerance not the same. Your body is designed to expel food or matter that it has sensitivity to, whether it’s by vomiting or excretion. For example, when you have a foreign object in your eye, your eye immediately tears up to flush it out.

Friendly bacteria are also important for diarrhea because it calms the stomach.

Be aware of how long you’ve been suffering from diarrhea. If it is a persistent condition, it is important to get tested and get a stool exam.

Your colon is your well-being. Take care of your colon for your overall health. Remember that inflammation of the colon can lead to colon cancer. If you’re not absorbing your medication or supplements properly, you are merely surviving and not thriving. Start today and get tested for food allergies, take helpful supplements such as digestive enzymes and eat healthy. If you have colon problems, it interfaces with all aspects of your well-being.

 

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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