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Smooth Sailin’

Posted Nov 13 2010 12:00am
What is the single best thing you can do for your health? Hire a Health Coach, of course! Ha, gotcha. No really… it’s making sure your digestion is on track and working properly. Most of your immune system is located around your gut. How else would most of the things that make you sick get in, right? Through your mouth! You breathe, you eat, you drink… you get the picture.

Well, it’s surprising how many people suffer from poor digestion. It’s not always as hard to fix as you might think. And it is well worth the effort! The lining of you gut determines what gets absorbed into your body and what gets eliminated. Ideally, you want the vitamins, minerals, molecules of healthy fat, etc. to get in and the bad guys like toxins and bad bacteria to stay out. To make a long story relatively short and readable, you need a few basic things.

Well first of all, you need a strong supply of enzymes to break down foods so they can be absorbed properly. These come mostly from raw fruits and vegetables. Our diets tend to be full of things that wipe out enzymes, so you need to get enough to overcome this abuse. Digestive enzyme supplements can be easily bought to help you get on track (but you, of course, might want to do this with the help of a Health Coach).

You want to make sure you have a full supply of good bacteria. You get this from things like yogurt and fermented foods and if you need extra help you can take a probiotic supplement.

The best food on the planet and probably the one most lacking in our diets is the leafy green. Popeye knew what he was talking about. Spinach, kale, the whole lot of them. Get as many of these inside of you as possible. If you like them raw, even better! Green juice is a popular way to do this, but I think it’s best to make sure you also get them in their solid form because…

Fiber is crucial to proper digestion. Of course it is! Where do we get fiber? Well, leafy greens for one! All sorts of other fruits and vegetables in their non-juice form. Whole grains are a fantastic source as well but some or all of them tend to give some people problems, so pay attention to how they make you feel. Beans as well. One thing to note about beans and grains is that soaking them will make them a lot easier to digest. I never cook them without first soaking them for as long as possible. (It helps get rid of the phytic acid but that’s a conversation for another time.)

Thirsty? Water is probably the easiest AND mot important element to this whole digestion conundrum. I think you know where to get that.

Let’s not forget essential fats, otherwise known as Omega 3’s. They are, well, essential for healthy digestion. Everyone can benefit from a supplement. The best source is wild fish and lots of it. You can get it from nuts like walnuts, but it’s not as easy for our bodies to use. I take a fish oil supplement every day.

Of course this list is not exhaustive. There’s stress, eating too fast, a never-ending list. But we covered the basics The gut is a massive territory with a whole lot of room for complication. If you feel like you do everything right but you still have issues (you know that they are!) then you can take further action like an elimination diet or even get tests of your blood and stool samples. And yes… working with a professional is advised!

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