Top Tips For A Healthy Digestive System
If you suffer from digestive issues, know that you are not alone. More than 20 million Americans are living with chronic digestive issues, a quarter of whom surgery will be necessary to alleviate their symptoms1. The most common digestive disorders are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease, and lactose intolerance2.
As frequently as we see advertisements and commercials for yogurt and other dairy products to support digestive health, we wanted to get to the bottom of this issue facing a significant portion of the population. Information we receive about probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes can get jumbled: therefore, here is the bottom line about how to care for your digestive health.
Top Five Things You Can Do For Your Digestive Health
- Supplement With Enzymes
Our digestive enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down food. Our bodies naturally produce a variety of enzymes and our digestive tract is not the only place in our body where enzymes can be found. We also naturally produce enzymes in our saliva, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. From the moment we put food into our mouths, enzymes are hard at work to begin breaking down that food. The three main types of digestive enzymes are:
- Lipase- which breaks down fats.
- Protease- which breaks down proteins.
- Amylase- which breaks down carbohydrates.
A link has been discovered between aging and the production of enzymes. After 30 years old, our bodies tend to decrease the number of natural enzymes we produce. This is where the supplementation of enzymes can be helpful3.
- Include High Fiber In Your Diet
Most of us know the discomfort of constipation, and most don’t want to broach the subject. It can be a problematic bodily condition, leading to significant health issues if left untreated. Eating a diet high in fiber will help keep food moving through our system, alleviating constipation.
Most people don’t know that two types of fiber impact our digestive tract. The two types are soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber, commonly known as “roughage,” cannot be digested by our body, so it helps stiffen our stool. Some examples of insoluble fiber are:
- Wheat Bran
- Whole Grains
- Green Beans
Soluble fiber takes in water and can prevent loose stool. It is finding the balance of the two different types of fiber to help regulate our digestive system and live a comfortable, healthy life. Examples of soluble fiber are:
- Oat Bran
- Probiotics & Prebiotics
Knowing the purpose and difference between probiotics and prebiotics is an excellent start before adding supplements or foods rich in these live organisms. Probiotics are usually thought of as “good bacteria.” The gut is thought of as a microbiome or an ecosystem. Like any ecosystem, a balance needs to occur to avoid disturbing the delicate homeostasis. Probiotics are a healthy way of lining the gut with a protective layer of beneficial bacteria. When these live bacteria (probiotics) die, they become enzymes, which we know now help break down our food.
A simple way to think of prebiotics is that they are food for probiotics. Certain probiotics die when they enter the stomach and come into contact with acidity and heat. Prebiotics are able to withstand the microbiome of the gut. A combination of probiotics and prebiotics will build and regulate your digestive system while improving your immunity5.
- Vitamins That Support Digestive Health
For those who battle digestive issues, there are four essential vitamins that you could add to your daily regimen. In the Category of B Vitamins, B1, B3, B6, Biotin, and B12 are specifically good at targeting the digestive system.
Although Vitamin C is excellent for many reasons, it also supports the health of your teeth and gums and the absorption of iron. This essential Vitamin found in a multivitamin, chewable, and tablet form can aid digestion.
For those living with IBS, Vitamin D is helpful. If you lack your daily dosage of Vitamin D from natural sunlight, a supplement could help support this digestive disorder6.
The fourth Vitamin is indirectly beneficial for those living with digestive disorders. Vitamin A deficiency is common among those with digestive conditions, especially those suffering from Chron’s Disease. Vitamin A can be found in foods such as carrots, kale, and other vibrant fruits and vegetables, or a supplement could also aid in this deficiency.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to support your digestive health. Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, Chron’s Disease, or other painful digestive conditions can interrupt our life and cause unneeded stress, increasing the symptoms. Changing our diet and adding some of the supplements mentioned above is a way of being proactive about our health. With other life stressors on our plate, let’s not let our gut lead the game.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
- GI Alliance https://gialliance.com/gastroenterology-blog/digestive-disease-continues-to-rise-among-americans#:~:text=Twenty%20million%20Americans%20suffer%20from,of%20disability%20in%20the%20workforce.
- Digestive Disorders, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/digestive-disorders.
- 10 Benefits of A Digestive Enzyme Supplement, https://umzu.com/blogs/health/10-benefits-of-a-digestive-enzyme-supplement-umzu.
- Eleven Tips for Better Digestive Health, https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/tips-for-better-digestive-health/.
- Why Prebiotics Are More Important Than Probiotics For Your Gut, https://www.bulletproof.com/gut-health/prebiotics/.