Many people are concerned about their health. They exercise and try to eat right. They take supplements just as a bit of insurance in case something is missing in their diets.
Some people spend a lot of money on health foods and dietary supplements. They pay for gym memberships and buy organics.
Most people, even those who put a lot of effort into getting healthy, overlook one of the most important systems of their bodies…their digestive system.
On the other side of the fence are people who cannot overlook the digestive system, because they suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, constipation or bouts of diarrhea, bloating, gassiness or general indigestion.
Those folks might spend a lot of money on antacids, laxatives and other prescription or over-the-counter products to get relief. Some of them choose the more “natural” options of psyllium husks or other fiber-rich supplements.
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When nothing else seems to be working, they might turn to probiotic supplements to “balance intestinal flora”. Despite the fact that they are heavily promoted, probiotics have proven to be ineffective in numerous clinical studies. Taking one of the supplements does not result in an increase in “good” bacteria.
If you don’t belong to any of the groups of people already described, you might belong to this one. There are thousands if not millions of people who suffer from problems that might seem to be unrelated, but are actually directly related to poor digestive health.
Do you suffer from lower back pain?
Do you have acne or other skin conditions?
Do you feel tired much of the time?
Do you have allergies?
Do you seem to catch every bug that’s coming or going?
Do you have trouble losing weight, no matter how hard you try?
If you answered “yes” to any one of those questions, improving the health of your digestive system will help.
You should be happy to hear that you do not have to buy a dozen different supplements to do that. Just a single supplement will do the trick. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment. First, you need to learn…
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Why a Healthy Digestive System Is So Important?
You may be wondering how an unhealthy digestive system could cause all of those seemingly unrelated problems. Many of those issues are caused by poor nutrition.
Most of the nutrients found in foods and supplements are absorbed into your bloodstream through the walls of your small intestine. Small finger-like projections called villi are responsible for the work.
If the villi become damaged due to illness or an imbalance in intestinal flora, they cannot do the job effectively. Beneficial bacteria in your gut keep yeast colonies from interfering with the function of the villi. At least, that’s what the beneficial bacteria can do if they are there.
The ultimate result of an unhealthy digestive system is poor nutrient absorption. Medications meant to relieve heartburn and acid reflux also interfere with nutrient absorption.
Stomach acid is designed to break apart foods. The regular use of acid reducers results in foods, especially proteins, not being fully broken apart. If the foods are not broken down sufficiently, the nutrients are too large to pass through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream.
Poor nutrient absorption causes fatigue and makes it difficult to lose weight. You’re still getting most of the calories out of the foods, but you’re not getting much nutrition. Your body’s response is excessive hunger.
Beneficial bacteria also contribute to nutrient absorption. The bacteria even make some nutrients for you.
For example, vitamin K is a nutrient important for rebuilding bones, tissues and blood. Beneficial bacteria in the small intestine make vitamin K. The bone loss that often accompanies the aging process could relate as much to a lack of vitamin K as it does to a lack of calcium.
Lower back pain may be related to insufficient vitamin K production or simply to the bloating that comes from a sluggish digestive system.
A lack of any essential nutrient will have a negative effect on your skin’s appearance. People with acne are often found to have low blood levels of the vitamins A and E.
Allergies and catching every bug that comes along are related to immune system function. Beneficial gut bacteria play a major role in the immune system. Assuming enough good bacteria are present, they can destroy harmful bacteria and other illness-causing pathogens.
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So, that’s why good digestive health is so important. Now, let’s talk about…
How to Get Your Digestive System Healthy?
There are four components necessary for balanced digestive health. Those components are
- Soluble fiber
Dietary fiber comes in two types; soluble and insoluble. Most plant foods contain some of each. Processed foods contain very little of either type.
Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance in your gut. The gel softens stools making it easier to “go” and performs a number of other functions.
One thing that it does is help to lower your cholesterol. The gel absorbs dietary cholesterol and the cholesterol made by your body preventing them from being absorbed into your bloodstream.
Soluble fiber also contributes to the growth of beneficial bacteria, which makes it a prebiotic, not a probiotic. Probiotics contain active bacteria that might or might not decide to take up residence in your gut. The bacteria need prebiotics to grow. Some prebiotics are more effective for this purpose than others.
Digestive enzymes help to break down proteins. Improperly digested proteins become rancid in your colon especially if you are constipated. When foods become rancid, they release free radicals, which are a cause of cellular aging throughout your body and can turn healthy cells into cancer cells. Bloating is a symptom of poorly digested proteins.