As an expert on whole-food nutrition, countless community members come to be asking about “detox” and digestion. Without question, the gut is very much like a second brain in the body. What is happening in the gut, is representative of your overall health.
If you currently suffer from bloating, migraines, inconsistent bowel movements or smelly gas, addressing your digestive system may very well help you address which foods have been sabotaging your progress and weight loss. When you start with digestion, you begin to uncover hidden food allergies and can often times finally kick stubborn cravings for unhealthy foods and toxic sugar. In my practice, I work with state of the art labs across the country to help my clients discover hidden food sensitivities, and get a clear look at their hormones levels – because if you don’t know, hormone health is directly tied to digestive health.
Apple Cider Vinegar to balance stomach acid: There are many medicinal uses for apple cider vinegar, but for this post I want to highlight its ability to balance stomach acid. When it comes to stomach acids, a body overly acidic will develop an impaired immune system, attack its own cells, age rapidly, experience various metabolic and weight imbalances, develop new allergies, ineffectively absorbs nutrients, have trouble flushing out everyday toxins as well as properly regulate minerals. For those with stomach acid issues, you may know how easy it can be to become dependent upon antacids. Ironically, antacids cause the body to produce more stomach acid over time yet medicinal apple cider vinegar works to actually re-balance your stomach acid. The next time you have indigestion problems, give this a try: 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar (washed down with a glass of lemon water). Apple cider is so effective that any stomach pain or deep belly churning usually resolves within minutes. The only exception to this would be if your stomach issues are related to ulcers. P.S. I highly recommend Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in glass bottles.
Coconut Oil for Digestion: Aside from boosting metabolism, aiding in thyroid imbalance symptoms and boosting your immune function, coconut oil is tremendous for your digestive health too. If you suffer from bloat, and even if you don’t – try adding 1-2 tbps coconut oil to your diet daily. I like to eat coconut oil right from the spoon, but that’s not for everyone You can add coconut oil to smoothies, teas, as well as dressings. Medicinal coconut oil benefits digestive disorders like IBS as well as the entire digestive system. The healthy medium chained fatty acids in coconut oil are anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial which have a soothing affect on tummy bacteria, yeast/candida, or any parasites (yikes) that may be at the root source of your digestive issues.
Probiotics for Good Health: By now you have likely heard of probiotics, and if you haven’t yet, probiotics are healthy bacteria that support your immune and gut health. A quality, wide-range probiotic will help to balance the effects of antibiotics, by preserving the good bacteria in your gut and thus boosting your immune function and preventing the common antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Certain strains of probiotics also help to balance the pH of women’s urinary and vaginal tracts to prevent bacteria and yeast overgrowth and are tremendously beneficial in reducing IBS symptoms, gas and bloating. A quality probiotic is a great addition to any healthy diet and lifetsyle.
Understanding Phytates (Phytic Acid): Phytates can be confusing and if you have digestive or hormone imbalance, this is an important nutrient (and anti-nutrient) to read up about. Foods like grains, beans and nuts store phosphorus as phytic acid, as do a wide-range of plant based foods that we would otherwise consider very healthy. Despite what you may have heard, phytates actually fight some chronic disease including cancer, kidney stones, cardiovascular disease and much more- but they can also bind to minerals in the digestive tract, creating mineral deficiency. To navigate the world of phytates and avoid the anti-nutrient effects of phytic acid in these healthy foods, while still getting the benefits of a plant powered diet try soaking, sprouting, cooking or even fermenting phytate rich plant foods. This translates to soaking and/or sprouting grains, nuts and beans before eating them. Adding a healthy acid like vinegar to grains and beans during the cooking process also helps to further enhance mineral absorption and offset phytic acid content.