Good gut health and digestion plays an important part in the health and wellbeing of the entire body. So I have created a series of articles about how you can improve your digestive health. This is the first part.
A healthy and well functioning digestive system is a cornerstone of good health. Yet, digestive problems are extremely common. They are one of the most common reasons for people to seek health care. With symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Conditions include bloating or constipation, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.
One reason digestive problems are increasing is that digestive function declines with age. When symptoms appear people start to self medicate, using over the counter medications for conditions like heartburn. Yet sometimes this only creates more problems and makes gut health worse.
Whats more, chronic digestive conditions can lead to what may seem unrelated conditions. For example, a leaky gut can lead to inflammatory or autoimmune conditions in other parts of the body. So it is important not to ignore these digestive problems.
Of course, not all digestive problems resolve with simple dietary and lifestyle changes. Even adding in targeted supplements, nutrients or herbal remedies may not be enough. However, many can be substantially improved within a relatively short space of time by following a 4R approach.
The 4R approach to improve digestive health:
In this series of posts I will be discussing each of these topics.
Remove – removing the things that might negatively affect the gut. This could be infections in the gut, such as unhealthy bacteria. It also includes removal of irritants and allergenic foods from the diet. As well as toxins in the environment that can wreak havoc on your gut health.
Replace – the things that might need to be replaced to support healthy gut function. How to improve your digestion with herbs or supplements such as digestive enzymes.
Reinoculate – how to establish and support a healthy gut microbiome. With probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods. A healthy balance of gut bacteria protects against infection by opportunistic pathogens.
Repair – using key nutrients and herbs to help repair a damaged gut lining.
Then I will discuss how to maintain healthy gut function. With ideas for healthy eating and lifestyle factors.
Since digestive health is the foundation of health for the whole body. Following a step by step approach such as this one affects almost every aspect of health. Of course each person is an individual with individual needs. Yet, the 4R approach can be a good place to start for anyone, depending on the nature of the digestive complaint.
If, after completing a 4R protocol you still have symptoms, you may need diagnostic lab testing. These help to identify and assess digestive function. Including the presence of pathogens and the health of the mucosal barrier.
Qualified herbalists that use functional medicine principles can arrange lab tests to discover any underlying issues. They would also work with you to create an individual treatment plan to help get your digestion back on track.
Read the second part 4R program – Remove the triggers.