5 Natural Ways To Promote A Healthy Gut
Gastrointestinal health is an important, if often overlooked, aspect of overall health. While bowel function may not be near the top of your list of health priorities, it should be – irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease are quality of life impacting and even more concerning, can mean serious issues. If you suffer from occasional indigestion, constipation, gas, irritable bowels or other digestive complaints, simple changes to your diet and how you manage stress can help. In addition, prudent supplementation can also be effective – the following have been found to help promote healthy digestion:
- Psyllium. This dried seed husk derived from the plantain does double duty: it can be used as a laxative when you experience constipation but may also prevent diarrhea by adding bulk to your stool. It is helpful for those with IBS and is good for general bowel maintenance. Always take psyllium with plenty of water and gradually increase the dose as you tolerate it.
- Probiotics. If you plan on traveling, are prescribed antibiotics, have slow digestion or experience excessive gas, probiotic supplements may help. These products contain “friendly” bacteria that can stabilize the digestive tract and aid in digestion. Choose a probiotic supplement containing at least ten to twenty billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per standard dose and ideally contains a variety of bacterial species. You should also aim to get these healthy bacteria from your diet; try organic full fat yogurt or fermented vegetables.
- Triphala. This ayurvedic herbal mixture is designed for ongoing use. Triphala promotes regular bowel function through its mild laxative properties and helps regulate bowel tone. Consider using triphala (capsules only) for 10 weeks, then taking a two-week break.
- Plant-derived digestive enzymes. For example, bromelain, derived from pineapples, can help digest specific nutrients and help in cases of food sensitivity. Take 1-2 approximately 20 minutes before the meal begins.
- Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). This herbal extract can soothe and protect the lining of the esophagus and stomach. Find chewable tablets that you can take as needed for discomfort. Know that the deglycyrrhizinated form removes the blood pressure elevation concern associated with licorice supplementation.
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