Restoring Digestive Health and Boosting Well-being

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Ever since I started working as a Nutritional Therapist, I was staggered by the number of people, both young and old, who suffered from gastrointestinal issues. Digestive complaints are amongst the most common reasons for individuals seeking medical help. There are more than 200 over-the-counter remedies for digestive disorders, many of which create additional digestive problems in their place. Once we have a compromised digestive system, it can play out over our entire bodies, leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, acne, chronic fatigue, poor mood, intolerances, pain and more. Having a healthy gut is absolutely central to our entire health. Helping clients with chronic health issues always starts with fixing their gut.

Our digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing all the food we eat, and then subsequently delivering nutrients to your body’s cells. Over a lifetime, the average person ingests more than 25 tons of food; however, as well as providing nutrients, this food may also contain damaging bacteria, viruses, and toxins. The gut wall – or mucosal layer – has the unique role of absorbing health-promoting nutrients and molecules, while also providing protection to the body by preventing the entry of toxins or pathogens into the blood stream.

 

It is important to remember that digestion starts in the mouth. We need saliva and the enzymes it contains to help break down proteins, fat and carbohydrates. Chewing the food properly is key to kick-start the digestion process correctly. If we wolf down our food we might end up with digestive complains such as bloating.

 

In the stomach, the food mixes with more enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCL). Sometimes clients are convinced that some of their digestive issues are related to having too much stomach acid, however a small test often reveals that the opposite is the case. Many people suffer from low amounts of HCL, often caused by poor diet, stress, alcohol, some medication, age, illness, poor sleep and more. Adequate HCL is necessary to break down proteins, activate digestive enzymes, protect us from pathogens and foreign organisms, and help us to absorb the nutrients in the food.

 

If food has not been broken down properly by now, on its way to the small intestine the food molecules can start to ferment or irritate the lining of the gut wall. They can also result in an overgrowth of bacteria, which can lead to bloating, abdominal pain and/or diarrhoea.

 

We have trillions of bacteria living inside us, and we have quite a ‘symbiotic’ relationship with them – we actually depend on each other. The good bacteria, often called probiotic, or beneficial bacteria need a place to live, eat and reproduce, and in turn their metabolic activity supports our own health in multiple ways. In fact, we literally could not live without them. It’s about getting the balance right, support the ‘good’ bacteria and keep the ‘bad’ bacteria out.

 

Beneficial bacteria in the gut act as the housekeepers for the digestive tract. They coat the entire surface of the gut, providing another layer of protection from invaders and toxins by providing a natural barrier, and producing a lot of anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal substances.

Did you know that approximately 75% of our immune system is located in the gut? One more reason to look after our gut health. Our immune system is our first line of defence. It is constantly bombarded with foods, toxins, microbes, and partly undigested food, that might cause irritation, an allergic reaction, and poor immunity, all ofwhich results in poor health.

 

Many factors can damage the beneficial gut flora and knock out digestive system out of balance, among them stress, lack of nutrients, poor diet, chronic inflammation, and many over the counter medications. Fortunately, some simple dietary and lifestyle changes can restore balance and digestive health.

 

If you are suffering from digestive issues, such as chronic diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, reflux, cramps, abdominal pain, gas, IBS and Autoimmune Disease, please give me a call or meet me for a free 15 minute mini-consultation to discuss your health issues and learn what Nutritional Therapy has to offer.

 

By applying the patient-centered approach used in Functional Medicine I seek to identify and address the root cause of ill health. After a thorough case history taking and possibly functional testing I can show you what has been causing your symptoms and create a tailored programme to restore your health and wellbeing.

 

Yours in health,

Doris Rabe Dip Nutritional Therapist mNTOI

Phone 085 1543354 and 071 9153828

Essential Marathon Supplements

There’s no substitution for a healthy balanced diet, but every runner needs a little boost now and again. The following are a couple of supplements to consider to help hydrate your body, reduce stress, protect your joints and boost your immune system.

Sports Electrolyte Fix is an electrolyte liquid containing sodium, magnesium, chloride and potassium as well as other trace and ultra-trace elements. Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in the body’s blood and fluid. They carry an electric charge and therefore can affect the blood’s pH and muscle function.

Exercise increases fluid loss through sweat. If this fluid is not replaced then dehydration will occur. Dehydration impairs performance as blood volume decreases and body temperature increases; extra strain will be put on the heart and lungs. Supplementing water with electrolytes can help minimise carrying excessive weight and possibly reduce fatigue during extended exercise.

Ashwaganda has been used for years to rejuvenate and strengthen the mind and body.

It’s valued as a nerve tonic to help reduce stress and research also supports its adoptogenic properties allowing the body to perform better under both mental and physical stress. For this reason it has been of great interest for improving physical performance in athletes.

Experimental studies have identified a wide array of therapeutic properties including anti-arthritic, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, immune-regulatory, cardio-protective, anti-anxiety and neuro-protective effects.

MSM Glucosamine Complex is a supplement which contains a complementary blend of ingredients which offer support for the joints. MSM is important for maintaining joint health as it contains a large amount of sulphur, one of the most important elements in the connective tissues and joint cartilage. Sulphur holds the tissue and cartilage together, so a deficiency can lead to their weakened strength. Glucosamine offers similar benefits as it can reduce the rate of collagen degradation, increasing the life span of the joints. This is most relevant to athletes but can be beneficial to everyone regardless of exercise levels. Glucosamine can also offer some relief from the symptoms of osteoarthritis in some people.

Turmeric is a powerful supplement which can offer you many important health benefits.The leading use for turmeric is for joint care, as the active ingredient in it, curcumin, has a long history of use for joints.

Curcumin is both a natural anti-inflammatory and a natural antioxidant. The anti-inflammatory gets to work by targeting the triggers which have caused the inflammation, stopping it from occurring rather than just treating the pain. This is most useful in the joints, where mobility can suffer from inflammation. But curcumin can also help with digestive problems, improving digestion and reducing symptoms like bloating. The antioxidant effects of curcumin are also important for joint health, as it can protect them from free radical damage, one of the leading causes of premature aging.

Ester-C 950mg capsules are a powerful, high strength Vitamin C supplement.

Adequate intake of vitamin C can help to support optimum immune health, healthy skin and provide antioxidant protection. Ester-C is a highly effective, highly absorbable and non-acidic form of Vitamin C. The non-acidic properties of this form of vitamin C allows for better absorption, while also reducing the risk of stomach upset. It is buffered to make it gentler on the stomach, especially when large amounts are consumed. This vitamin may help to reduce the duration and severity of colds and flus. Vitamin C may also aid the production of collagen which is necessary for the formation of healthy skin, gums, bones and teeth.

 

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Recipe: The Gut-Loving Loaf of Bread

The Gut-Loving Loaf of Bread

The Gut-Loving Loaf of Bread

By our nutritional therapist Doris Rabe

High in protein, gluten-free and vegan, very high in fiber, easy and very yummy!

The Gut-Loving Loaf of Bread

Ingredients

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds

½ cup / 90g flax seeds

½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds (cashew nuts work as well)

1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats

2 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp psyllium husk powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 ½ cups / 350ml water

Method

– In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well.

– Whisk melted coconut oil, maple syrup or honey and the water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick. If the dough is too thick to stir, add 1 or 2 tbsp of water.

– Transfer mixture to a loaf pan (oiled or lined with baking parchment) and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let rest for a least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.

– Preheat oven to 175C.

– Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. You know the bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.

– Let cool completely before slicing – very important!

– Bread can be stored in an tightly sealed container for up to 5 days. Or freeze half of the bread: slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!

Play around with the ingredients – try a mixture of different nuts, add spices such as cinnamon or for something more savoury add fennel seeds, cumin, paprika or mixed herbs. If you don’t have oats, try rolled spelt.

Psyllium seed husks contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber dissolves in water and soothes the digestive tract with its mucilaginous properties, while the insoluble fiber acts like a broom to sweep the colon free of toxins. You can take it anytime – many people find that a daily dose of a teaspoon or two in a glass of water really helps them get their bowels moving, (or slow them down if necessary). Don’t forget to up your intake of water!

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