The ABC’s of digestion

Upon a recent holiday in the UK, I embraced their widely accessible “digestive aids” encouraged to aid the human body’s digestive tract. Every which way I turned, there was a digestive aid beverage being offered. This piqued my curiosity as well as made me smile.

I admire that this health topic is of general knowledge there. Not only that, but there are many aids offered to select from that one can tailor to their personal health needs.

Digestive aids and the entire topic of digestion shouldn’t be hidden. It’s not taboo. We all have to digest our food and drink. At some point in all our lives, whether acute or chronic, our digestion can go haywire! Many causes exist for this. A few include: medication, post-surgery recovery, pregnancy, sudden intolerance to certain grains, and allergies.

In my interview with Dr. Kaycie, who provided a naturopathic insight with food antibody testing, and more, she explained the benefits offered by a naturopath for those suffering with digestive issues.

There are medical tests other doctors frequently order to identify patients’ digestive issues. Imaging can include a CT scan, MRI, an upper GI or lower GI series, ultrasound, nuclear scans, and more.

Five well-known conditions that affect digestive function include: IBS, colitis, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).

Depending on what your eastern or western medicine source suggests, there are steps available to identify what is going on ‘inside.’ Once that is determined, then methods can be recommended to find relief.

Various individuals have told me they have found digestive relief by using supplements such as fiber, papaya enzyme, and Metamucil.

I would love to see grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes in the U.S. be as bold as those in the UK, proudly offering “digestive aids.”

It goes without saying that the human body needs nutritionally rich food, but also ones that we actually want to consume.

“The importance of a healthy diet is well recognized, but to become acceptable, a diet needs to be attractive and gratifying.”*

I started each day of my trip in the UK with a liquid digestive aid. Even at my hotel, a variety of freshly blended flavors were available. After reviewing the ingredients of each, I did a taste test and chose the one that I felt would best ‘aid’ my health.

What am I reviewing you ask? Nutrition of each ingredient (think fiber, calories, carbs, any fats, sugar). There are certain fruits I avoid that are too high in sugar, others that don’t bode well with my digestive tract.

In addition to wonderful memories, I traveled back to the U.S. with more knowledge of the UK, their focus on health, and new ideas to concoct my very own digestive aids at home!

When we create our own digestive aids, lunches, or snacks at home, we know all ingredients. We know what is going in them. We know the nutrition. We know the source of the ingredients because we are personally purchasing them.

How do I feel after having about 1/3 a glass each morning?

  • Energized (an optimal start for me)
  • That my digestive tract is running smoothly (no bloating, cramping or other discomfort)
  • Satisfied (the ingredients pair perfectly together)

Below are a few digestive facts… food for thought, if you will?

The digestive system “has its own nervous system”, “its own brain.”  This is referred to as the enteric nervous system which “fires off commands such as producing hormones, controlling muscle contraction, and can even send a message to the brain to stop eating.”**

“It can feel when you’re stressed.”**

“The digestive organs include the mouth, salivary glands, throat, esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.”**

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Coming next: Grief: Finding light at the end of tunnel

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