Our gastrointestinal tract is a highly specialized organ system that serves a wide range of functions, including the digestion of complex food, subsequent nutrition absorption, and active participation in immune function. Our gastrointestinal tract is referred to as the second brain of our body for a reason.
Maintaining gut health requires a delicate balance between diet, gut flora, and the mucosa, which comprises the digestive epithelium and an underlying mucus layer. Like any other multifunctional system, the digestive system, too, can sometimes find it difficult to run smoothly. This post will help you understand common digestive problems, natural ways to uplift gut health, and know what are the symptoms of poor digestion.
7 Common digestive problems
This gastrointestinal disorder must have affected all of us at some point. When someone has diarrhea, they typically pass loose, watery stools. In most cases, viruses or contaminated food are to blame for diarrhea. Less frequently, it may indicate another condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, which will be covered in more detail shortly. Some parasites, certain drugs, lactose intolerance, fructose sugar, artificial sweeteners, surgery, etc., can also cause diarrhea and uncomfortable bowels.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
This digestive condition occurs when bile or stomach acid irritates the lining of the food pipe. We all typically feel acidic after eating a spicy meal or if we don't eat it in a reasonable timeframe. GERD may be indicated by acid reflux and heartburn occurring more than twice weekly. This chronic condition causes burning feelings and discomfort in your stomach.
This is an autoimmune disorder where consuming gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, and rye, triggers an immunological response. The immunological response to ingesting gluten causes inflammation which over time harms the lining of the small intestine and destroys intestinal villi (that facilitates absorption of all the nutrients), causing malabsorption and can result in several health issues.
When stomach acid damages the digestive tract's lining, sores called ulcers form on the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. The mucus layer and other endogenous mechanisms usually shield the digestive tract from strong acids and digestive enzymes. Still, in this situation, all of these are hampered, and the epithelium of the digestive tract is harmed. If these ulcers are not treated appropriately, they may lead to deadly gastrointestinal perforations. H. Pylori bacteria and NSAIDs are common causes of ulcers.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is characterized by stomach discomfort, irregular bowel movements, and uncomfortable bowels. This condition would either result in the motion occurring more or less frequently than usual (diarrhea or constipation), or it would result in a different type of stool (thin, hard, or soft and liquid). Although the exact etiology of IBS is unknown, it may be linked to a hypersensitive colon or excessive immune response.
Also Read: 10 Best Foods For IBS
On the right side of your abdomen, below your liver, is the gallbladder, a little, pear-shaped organ. Gallstones are solidified collections of digestive fluid that can develop in your gallbladder. A fluid called bile, which is discharged into your small intestine during digestion, is stored in your gallbladder.
There may be no symptoms or indicators associated while gallstones in the gallbladder, but an obstruction caused by a gallstone lodged in a duct may produce sharp, excruciating pain. Gallstones may be brought on by irregular gallbladder emptying, high cholesterol, and bilirubin in the bile.
Diverticulitis and diverticulosis fall within the category of diverticular illnesses. Diverticulosis is a disorder in which the digestive tract develops tiny, protruding pouches. People over 40 and those who consume high fat, low fiber diets are more likely to develop it.
NSAIDs can also bring on diverticulosis. These can sometimes become inflamed or infected, leading to symptoms like bleeding, obstructions, and abscesses. Diverticulitis is the medical term for this. Both these conditions may cause dedication difficulty, and you might experience irritated bowels.
How can I calm my digestive system?
You've probably noticed that most of the illnesses related to the digestive tract listed above are either caused by inflammation or infection. Additionally, the relevance of dietary fiber and gut microbiota for preserving digestive health is emphasized by research. Based on the latest research and expert opinions, we have come up with some of the most effective ways to tackle digestive problems. Read on!
Have Manuka honey
You must probably be wondering why to eat honey. This isn't any regular honey pals. This is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial foods available to us. New Zealand native Manuka plants are the only source of Manuka honey production. This monofloral honey is thicker and darker than typical honey.
Compared to regular honey, the enormous concentration of methylglyoxal in this honey is one of its distinguishing features. The strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities of methylglyoxal help us with several digestive discomforts. Manuka honey is effective against Helicobacter pylori which will prevent ulcers.
It also calms down the inflamed gut tissues, which will, in turn, enhance the absorption of nutrients. According to research, it is a promising way to treat multi-resistant bacteria like Salmonella typhimurium. It also has a significant amount of prebiotic oligosaccharides, which will promote the growth of healthy gut microbes. This is your go-to food if you wonder, "How can I reset my gut health?"
Have plenty of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods
Natural anti-inflammatory agents help reduce inflammatory markers and soothe irritated tissue. Antioxidants help to protect the gut lining from harmful reactive free radicals and other oxidizing toxins. You can include foods like berries, green leafy vegetables, green-lipped mussels, beets, and fruits in your diet.
Omega 3-rich foods or supplements will benefit as they have excellent Anti-inflammatory potential. Dietary supplements like vitamin C, E, A, green-lipped mussel oil and astaxanthin, etc. will also be beneficial. Want a home remedy too? Try gut healing bone broth which will not only provide you with collagen peptides but will also help to reduce inflammation in your stomach.
You can also go for green-lipped mussels, specifically their oil, if you want eicosatetraenoic acid, which is several times more potent than regular omega 3. Green-lipped mussel oil has been found to have exceptional anti-inflammatory properties and is also proven to be helpful in conditions like IBS. In recent research, astaxanthin is effective against Helicobacter pylori and helps with several acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Munch on probiotic and prebiotic foods
Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria that help to enhance your gastrointestinal health. They are usually found in dairy products and fermented foods. On the other hand, prebiotics are the substrate that these probiotic bacteria use for thriving. Prebiotics are typically dietary fibers and oligosaccharides.
Research clearly shows how a proper balance of gut bacteria can help you to prevent infections. These bacteria also help to prevent colon ailments like cancers as they produce several antimicrobial compounds and butyrate during their metabolism, which helps to prevent carcinogenesis. They also have significant immune modulatory and absorption enhancing potential. This is how you can make your intestines stronger.
No compromise with dietary fiber
Have a fiber-rich diet to keep gut issues at bay. Dietary fiber is the guts' best friend. There are two types of fibers, water-soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The former absorbs water in the gastrointestinal tract and forms a gel-like substance that helps increase gastric motility and traps inflammation-causing substances.
The latter adds bulk to the diet and also eases dedication. Fibers, as just said, act as prebiotics and promote gut microbial growth. Numerous studies have proven the importance of dietary fiber for gut health.
That's all. We hope this article was helpful. Have you tried any of the above-mentioned natural remedies for your digestive discomforts? If yes, let us know how it worked for you in the comments.