Proper digestive function is imperative to every aspect of our health. Digestive discomfort, skin or menstrual cycle challenges, joint pain or inflammation, compromised immunity, and low mood or anxiety can all be linked to digestive dysfunction. Should we wish to be well, our digestion deserves our care and understanding.
Simple steps to allow your digestive system to do what it is designed to do:
The Basics Put down the packets, eat a variety of nutrient-dense wholefoods, and drink plenty of water. These are essential foundations not only for digestion but for overall health.
Mindful Meals Nowadays it’s common to eat on-the-go. Ensuring that meals are seated, relaxed, and chewed completely is crucial to initiating assimilation of nutrients from our food. Consider your ‘culinary culture’, or the practices, attitudes and beliefs you have around food.
Stress Reduction Ever felt nervous butterflies, bloating, or variable bowel habits in response to stress? These are all symptoms of the relationship between our emotions, environment, and digestive system. Stress activates our fight or flight nervous system, compromising digestion. Finding ways that work for you to manage stress, such as diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or time in nature, is essential to effective digestion.
Helpful Herbs Ginger and Gentian, taken before main meals can help to stimulate digestion. Ginger warms and awakens the digestive system, whilst Gentian helps to stimulate secretion of digestive juices. Dandelion is great for the sluggish, stagnant, or stressed digestive system. To stimulate digestion and regulate appetite, begin your meal with a handful of bitter dandelion leaves or try dandelion root tea. Chamomile can help to relieve overactivity and irritability of both the digestive and nervous systems, making for the perfect post dinner brew.
Without digestion we would not receive the nutrients necessary for all of our bodily functions. Symptoms are simply messages asking for us to consider the ways we treat ourselves. It’s time we listen to and honour these gut feelings.
We recommend you consult with a Medical Herbalist before use of herbal medicines. Your unique symptoms and situation, conditions, and/or medication should be considered prior to prescription.
Naturopath & Medical Herbalist, BNHM