Irritable Bowel

December 27th, 2013 by

tummy-hurtsIrritable Bowel Disease is an umbrella term which represents a wide spectrum of digestive ailments from frequent spells of constipation, to bloating, to flatulence and cramps.

The digestive tract is a large and incredibly complex system, which is highly prone to glitches if it is not supported efficiently. It is also highly sensitive to inflammation caused by certain foods. If the digestive system is not functioning efficiently this will have a knock-on effect for the rest of the body and symptoms commonly occur which seem completely unrelated such as skin irritation, headaches and fatigue. This is because the body works as a functional system – with all the systems working in conjunction. If one falls down, the rest will follow and your digestive tract is the centre of the walking talking universe we call the human body.

There is no ‘cure’ or medical treatment as such for ‘irritable bowel syndrome’ which is why we need to kit our digestive systems out with a full coat of nutritional armour in order for it to function healthily.

Let’s start with what might be irritating your digestive system. There are a couple of common food groups which are widely understood to agitate the gut wall and therefore manifest in a variety of unpleasant symptoms. These include wheat, dairy and alcohol. All promote inflammatory reactions in the body and even if you are not diagnosed as ‘intolerant’ or even allergic to these foods, they are likely to create friction in your digestive tract if consumed frequently.

In your colon resides an eco-system of live bacteria. These bacteria are absolutely essential for healthy gut function as well as strong immunity and problem-free digestion. We are born with a strong community of healthy bacteria known as micro flora, and the natural process of breast feeding further populates the eco system in our infant colon. However during everyday life many people reduce and even wipe out their levels of good bacteria through taking antibiotics, drinking alcohol, experiencing high stress lifestyles and eating unhealthy diets. This leads to over-growth of bad bacteria and is the underlying cause of so many cases of ‘IBS’ because the digestive tract simply cannot function properly anymore.

Great relief is found in the shape of pro biotic supplements which literally repopulate your gut with strains of good bacteria including acidophilus and lactobacillus. Daily doses of around 10 billion are generally recommended. Other ways in which to help repopulate the gut include frequent consumption of pro biotic foods, such as live yoghurt, miso soup and sauerkraut. Pre biotic foods are

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known to nourish your friendly bacteria to promote its proliferation and growth. These include slightly under-ripe bananas, onions, chicory and oats.

Peppermint oil is commonly prescribed to ‘IBS’ sufferers as it naturally calms and soothes the gut aiding a healthier functioning system. Peppermint tea, oil and tablets are all effective ways of supporting your digestive tract.

A number of herbs and spices are known to naturally enhance your digestive health. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also helps to promote the production of stomach acid required to healthily digest food. Drink ginger teas and grate fresh ginger root into your cooked stir fries, home-made curries and meat dishes. Rosemary, garlic and turmeric are also known for their digestive health properties.

A popular tonic for many people who have experienced ‘IBS’ symptoms, is Aloe Vera juice. This is a calming, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic herb which is a traditional remedy for digestive health complications. It is celebrated for easing bloating, flatulence, constipation and a wide array of associated symptoms including skin inflammation and fatigue. Take it as a juice or tablet.

Getting plenty of fibre in the diet and staying well hydrated are also important. A diet rich in quality protein sources and essential fatty acids from oily fish, seed oils and avocadoes will help to prevent ‘IBS’ symptoms.

As always stress is a major piece of the puzzle. See stress relief for tips on how to remain calm and serene in the eye of your daily stress storms.

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