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Digestion and oro-gastro-intestinal health Advice

10 tips for facilitating digestion naturally

Digestion problems are extremely common. If you’re among the many sufferers, try these 10 natural tips for facilitating the digestive process and restoring your day-to-day well-being.
Woman comfortably digesting her meal
A few simple measures can help you overcome digestion problems.
Rédaction Supersmart.
2021-04-13Comments (0)

Avoid heavy meals for better digestion

Of all the nutrients we ingest, fats are the most difficult - and take the longest - to break down. After a particularly high-fat meal, it can be difficult for the digestive system to perform its role properly, resulting in nausea, a feeling of heaviness and bloating... So beware of eating too much fat!

It’s not a question of eliminating all fatty acids from the diet as they’re essential for health. It’s more about applying moderation and prioritising ‘good’ fats: vegetable oils (olive, rapeseed, nut ...), nuts and seeds (hazelnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, sesame seeds ...), avocados, oily fish (sardines, salmon)

How should you eat to improve your digestion?

Eating is quite an art! By following certain rules, you can simplify the work your digestive organs have to do:

Ginger for preventing digestive discomfort

Ginger is a plant native to India where the root is used both in cooking and in traditional medicine. Brilliant for flavouring curries and other stew-type dishes, it has also been used for thousands of years as a tonic by the Chinese.

Scientific research has shown that ginger also helps to maintain digestive health (1). One way to increase your intake is to take a ginger supplement with a high content of gingerols, one of the plant’s key active ingredients (for example, Super Gingerols).

Get checked out by your doctor

If you regularly experience digestive problems that are affecting your day-to-day activities, you should perhaps book an appointment with your GP. A blood test or general check-up may identify allergies, irritable bowel syndrome or some other condition affecting your digestion (2).

With a proper diagnosis, you’ll be able to modify your diet, excluding any problematic foods, and if necessary, take an appropriate remedy.

Liquorice, a plant that’s beneficial for the digestive system

When you hear the word liquorice, do you automatically think of the sweets? Well liquorice is first and foremost a plant that promotes good digestion (3). Highly-fragrant, the root can be chewed, or consumed as a powder, tea or decoction.

Supplement-wise, it’s best to opt for deglycyrrhizinated liquorice, to prevent any potential side-effects from glycyrrhinic acid (try, for example, the product DGL).

Physical exercise improves digestion

Taking regular exercise encourages the digestive system to work properly and helps maintain good intestinal transit. However, it’s not a good idea to launch into an intensive training session straight after a heavy meal – it could cause anything from acid reflux to vomiting. Far better for helping your food go down easily is to go for a walk.

Stock up on calcium

Everyone knows that calcium is essential for strong bones. But it does so much more! It also helps the body’s digestive enzymes to function normally(4).

There are many dietary sources of calcium including certain dairy foods, broccoli, almonds, sesame seeds and wholemeal bread. To boost your daily intake, you can also supplement with calcium orotate for example, and to increase your intake of enzymes, try the supplement Digestive Enzymes.

Add bacteria to the menu

Who hasn’t been recommended yogurt with active bifidobacteria to improve intestinal transit? In fact, this type of dairy and fermented milk help those who are lactose-intolerant to digest it more easily (5).

The kind of bacteria added to these foods can also be found in dietary supplements containing various ‘gut-friendly’ strains of bacteria (such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG with 10 billion micro-organisms per dose, or the patented supplement Colon Friendly).

Psyllium husk for slow transit

If your bowel movements are infrequent and your large intestine is working a little too slowly for your liking, psyllium or plantago ovata, a plant indigenous to desert regions, could be the answer.

Studies have shown that psyllium seed and husk help regulate transit (6). This plant may, in particular, help to soften stools, which could be particularly beneficial for pregnant women or those suffering from haemorrhoids.

Le psyllium peut se consommer incorporé dans l’alimentation ou sous forme de complément alimentaire (comme Psyllium Seed Husk).

References

  1. Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
  2. https://www.ifop.com/publication/troubles-digestifs-quand-faut-il-consulter/
  3. Pastorino G, Cornara L, Soares S, Rodrigues F, Oliveira MBPP. Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): A phytochemical and pharmacological review. Phytother Res. 2018 Dec;32(12):2323-2339. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6178. Epub 2018 Aug 17. PMID: 30117204; PMCID: PMC7167772.
  4. Eich T, Ståhle M, Gustafsson B, Horneland R, Lempinen M, Lundgren T, Rafael E, Tufveson G, Zur-Mühlen BV, Olerud J, Scholz H, Korsgren O. Calcium: A Crucial Potentiator for Efficient Enzyme Digestion of the Human Pancreas. Cell Transplant. 2018 Jul;27(7):1031-1038. doi: 10.1177/0963689718779350. Epub 2018 Jun 26. PMID: 29945463; PMCID: PMC6158545.
  5. Oak SJ, Jha R. The effects of probiotics in lactose intolerance: A systematic review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(11):1675-1683. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1425977. Epub 2018 Feb 9. PMID: 29425071.
  6. Noureddin S, Mohsen J, Payman A. Effects of psyllium vs. placebo on constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids: A randomized trial in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic constipation. Complement Ther Med. 2018 Oct;40:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.07.004. Epub 2018 Jul 10. PMID: 30219432.
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