Good Digestive Health
It’s More Than a Gut Feeling
Everyone will have experienced some kind of stomach upset within their lifetimes – from bloating and constipation to diarrhoea and wind – but few people fully understand how important the digestive system is to overall good health.
The digestive system plays an essential role in the human body by breaking down nutrients into parts small enough for the body to absorb and use for energy, growth and cell repair.
A well-functioning gut also contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi, and it communicates with the brain via nerves and hormones, which helps to maintain general health and well-being.
One of the main complaints of poor digestive health is irritable bowel syndrome. According to studies, IBS affects 11% of the population globally, with the greater proportion being women. But, it’s not only stomach complaints that are a sign of poor digestive health; autoimmune conditions, allergies, poor mental health, skin conditions, hormonal conditions and sleep disorders can also be caused by a poorly functioning digestive system.
In short, if the digestive system is struggling, your body’s ability to function will suffer too.
As Neomed’s Functional Medicine Practitioner and Nutritionist, Tina Christoudias Spyrou, explains: “You are not only what you eat, but what you absorb. If your gut isn’t functioning properly, you can be eating the best diet out there, but you won’t be absorbing the nutrients needed for your cells to produce the energy to do all the activities that your cells need to do.”
The digestive system
The digestive system works like a conveyor belt taking food from the top to the bottom, and decomposing it along the way into a digestible source of energy.
Made up of the gastrointestinal tract—also called the digestive tract—along with the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder, the digestive system enables food to travel from the mouth to the oesophagus and on into the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are the solid organs of the digestive system.
Bacteria in the GI tract, also called the microbiome, helps with digestion as do the body’s nervous and circulatory systems. Working alongside the organs of the digestive system, these nerves, hormones, bacteria and blood enable the food and liquid taken each day to be digested.
The digestive system breaks nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water – into parts small enough for your body to absorb and use for energy, growth and cell repair. Proteins break into amino acids, the various fats break into fatty acids and glycerol and carbohydrates break into simple sugars.
Signs of Poor Digestive Health
Abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, constipation, heartburn, nausea and vomiting are all typical symptoms of poor digestive health. However, when symptoms persist, they may be a sign of an underlying problem in need of medical attention. Sudden weight loss, bloody or black stools, severe vomiting, fever, severe stomach aches and jaundice are just some of the signs of a deeper gastrointestinal problem and medical advice should be sought immediately.
Another problem to be aware of is leaky gut, which can cause brain fog, digestive issues, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, arthritic pain and frequent headaches. One of the functions of the intestine, besides absorbing and digesting our food, is to protect whatever is inside the gut from our blood and other organs outside of it. This protection comes from the lining of the gut. However, stress and the chemicals we breathe in on a daily basis, as well as bad diets, can lead to a deterioration of this lining, meaning that what’s in the gut starts to go outside of it – and waiting outside the gut is the immune system.
Not recognizing whatever it is that’s leaking from the gut, the immune system starts to attack it.
“When this happens day after day, week after week, year after year, your immune system can definitely get confused and start attacking your own tissues,” explains Tina. “This is why we are seeing such a rise in autoimmune disease.”
How to Look After Your Digestive Health
Diet plays a huge part in intestinal homeostasis since it conditions the microbiome, and a balanced intestinal terrain creates a healthy intestinal environment.
As well as avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, keeping away from fried foods, if possible, and limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption.
“At Neomed we assess the digestive problems of our guests, fix their diets and suggest any supplements they might need to help with digestion, and we give them the tools to enable them to go home and do the work,” says Tina. “But remember, plants are your friend. Make your plates as colourful as the brightest rainbow.”
Other ways to help your digestive system is to get adequate sleep, it is not uncommon for people with disturbed sleep patterns to suffer from nausea, bloating, constipation and other digestive concerns, and take up regular exercise, which reduces stress levels and helps to maintain a healthy weight, all of which is good for gut health.
How Neomed Can Safeguard Your Digestive health
Though there is much you can do at home to improve your digestive health, some people will need expert help and medical supervision to tackle symptoms and their underlying causes. Here at Neomed, we offer a number of highly-advanced and unique gastrointestinal therapies.
As no two people have the exact same gut flora, each treatment programme is tailored to the individual after assessment, which includes stool and blood analysis.
We then create a personalised Digestive Health Programme to thoroughly cleanse the gastrointestinal tract, enhance digestive secretions, regulate motility and restore your gut microbiome and nutritional and mineral absorption. Our therapies include natural herbal enemas, essential oils and high-quality absorbable supplements along with state-of-the-art therapies designed to heal and restore proper digestive function.
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