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Solutions for digestive problems and what you need to do

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Many of us experience digestion problems, from irregular bowel movements, bloating, indigestion and nausea. Do you know when these symptoms can turn into conditions like IBS? Read below to find out what you need to do if you have a digestive problem.

A happy and healthy digestive system should allow you to have a good appetite, digest and absorb nutrients from foods, have regular easy to pass stool once or twice a day, have little or no bloating after meals and have energy throughout the day.

A happy and healthy digestive system should allow you to have a good appetite, digest and absorb nutrients from foods, have regular easy to pass stool once or twice a day, have little or no bloating after meals and have energy throughout the day.

If your digestive system is not as healthy as it should be, you may experience abdominal cramps and pain during or after meals, you may not have bowel movements as regular or they are difficult to pass and have excessive bloating after eating.

There are many potential reasons why your digestive system may not be as efficient as it should be; poor dietary habits mean the body is not getting the vital nutrients required for chemical process, and also the beneficial gut bacteria are not being fed. Lack of digestive enzymes, as well as beneficial bacteria, can impair digestion, often causing food to ferment in the gut and producing toxins.

Stress can impact the digestive system, as it can slow digestion down and cause irregular bowel movement, individuals usually experience either constipation or diarrhoea.

Spinal cord issues could cause problems in other parts of the body; the spinal cord sends nerve signals to all parts of your body and can affect digestion. The lumbar spine or lower back is vital for nerve function. Problems in this part of the spine may result in symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, and gas. This is because this area of the spine includes sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves that are directly connected to your digestive system.

Here are some solutions to digestive problems:

  • Chew your food – the more you chew, the more saliva is produced which has digestive enzymes and aid in breaking food down, so digestion essentially begins in the mouth!
  • Aim to have one meal at the same time of day to prepare the digestive system
  • Avoid consuming foods between meals– this helps the small intestine clean out unwanted food and bacteria, essential for digestion.
  • Only eat when hungry – under stress, people tend to overeat and during this time everything is slower, including the digestive system, meaning food takes longer to break down.
  • Do not have liquids during meals – not only do they weaken the digestive juices, but beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes are unable to get to the broken down food, and so nutrients are not absorbed properly. Also, drinking water with meals can trap air into the colon, resulting in trapped gas.
  • Boost stomach acid by having a concoction of 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon, 1-2 teaspoons of raw, virgin apple cider vinegar and garlic in a small amount of lukewarm water 10 minutes before each meal.
  • Increase intake of prebiotics and probiotics, they protect the gut bacteria and play an important role in digestion.
  • Food sources of prebiotics are garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks and chicory root.
  • Food sources of probiotics are yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet– Consume more fibre from fruit and vegetables and cut back on processed foods, animal protein, and simple sugars, all of which feed harmful bacteria and contribute to obesity and disease.
  • Improve your posture – a poor posture can affect digestion by weakening the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm, resulting in trapped gas, bloating and cramping.
  • Position yourself towards the edge of your chair
  • Elongate the spine out from the bottom of the pelvis
  • Try not to sink your head into your shoulders
  • Maintain a 90-degree angle at your hips, knees, and ankles.
  • Instead of moving your head down to the food, be mindful to bring it up to the mouth.

A Nutritionist or Functional Medicine Practitioner can help restore healthy digestive system by taking a comprehensive health history, getting any lab tests necessary (comprehensive stool test, intestinal permeability screening, food intolerance, etc) and then guide you through a treatment plan, using the 5R treatment (remove, replace, reinoculate, repair and rebalance). This can include removing all food toxins from your diet, maximising digestive capacity using supplemental acid and enzymes, encouraging consumption of fermentable fibres, fermented foods, treating intestinal pathogens and managing stress.

So you can see that avoiding stomach pain is achievable with the right guidance and expert attention to detail, you can get the pain-free outcome that you deserve.

 

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