Digestive Systems, Keep Them Healthy!

Components of Digestive System

Research has shown that healthy, properly functioning digestive systems can alleviate many health issues. Weight control and fat loss, curbing sugar cravings, mood control, and more are easier to achieve if you look after your digestive system.

I knew this from my own experience with health issues over the years, but my personal observations were validated watching this video. Dr. Amy Lee is head of nutrition at Nucific. She starts off talking about unhealthy (contrary to popular belief) breakfast choices, then explains why these choices get you in trouble and how to change your habits.

She also states that food sensitivities are warning signs that digestive systems are not functioning properly, something that resonated strongly with me.

I have more time to watch these videos now that my garden business is (literally) under snow. Although they are marketing something at the end, I scroll through that part. I do find lots of informative, well-searched (I do check) fodder for thought though. In turn, this research translates to inspiration for my blog posts.

In case you have no desire to or don’t have time to watch the whole thing, I have summarized it for you…

Breakfast Choices Affect Digestive Systems

Breakfast is important, but what you choose to consume or offer your children to consume first thing in the morning is even more important.

Healthy breakfast choices are crucial to kickstart digestive systems for the day and keep them functioning properly. These three popular choices are bad ideas as they contain too much sugar in forms often difficult to recognize. High fructose corn syrup is the worst offender. It is present in many packaged, convenient breakfast (and other snack) foods.

  • yogurt (see clarification below)
  • wheat bread
  • cereal bars

Digestive Enzymes

Dr. Lee recommends physical activity plus the use of these three digestive enzymes to break down food properly. When this happens nutrients are distributed throughout our body and the waste eliminated.

  • amylase
  • bromelain
  • lipase

These enzymes are already present in our bodies but you can add to them with commercial supplements (pills) or foods such as:

  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Honey
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kiwifruit
  • Ginger
  • Asparagus
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
Make Your Digestive System Work for You!

You know my preference. I’ve never been a proponent of pills. I also noticed that many of the foods listed above are ingredients in my customized morning smoothies, so are rarely absent from my fridge or freezer.

The Issue with Yogurt and Digestive Systems

While (some) yogurt does contain digestive enzymes or probiotics, read the labels as not all probiotic yogurts are created equal. Most contain so much sugar the benefit of the enzymes is diminished by the sugar content.

If yogurt is your thing, I’ve done the research for you. The healthiest yogurts were recently listed by Prevention Magazine. These contain more healthy digestive enzymes than sugar, with some vegan options making the list.

I choose yogurt drinks that contain 40% (5 gm per bottle) less sugar for my grandchildren. The tiny containers (nano) have spill-proof lids and come in many flavours. My grandkids all love them.

Make Your Digestive System Work for You!

Candida or Yeast Infections

Do you suffer from repeated yeast infections? Sugar in your diet may be to blame because yeast feeds on sugar, wreaking havoc on your digestive and blood systems.

Mood swings, lethargy, fatigue, bloating, joint pain, sugar cravings, eczema or rashes, weight gain, and recurrent yeast (urinary tract) infections, and inconsistent bathroom habits (diarrhea/constipation) can all be attributed to excessive sugar (and yeast production) in your diet.

Too Much Sugar is not Good for Digestive Systems

Once again, sugar is rearing its ugly side!

While bananas and mango contain digestive enzymes, they also contain a high amount of natural sugars, so beware of consuming too much of them. So do these foods:

  • gluten containing grains like wheat, rye, barley and spelt.
  • deli meats and farm-raised fish.
  • refined oils and fats such as canola, soybean, and sunflower oils or margarine.

Olestra, a Dangerous Fat Substitute

Another dangerous ingredient in many so-called “light” convenience foods is olestra (AKA olean), a fat substitute advertised to improve the healthiness of these foods with their fat-free claim. So dangerous in fact, olestra has been banned in many countries, since it was subsequently discovered to increase weight gain and gastrointestinal problems in its consumers.

That’s because our bodies are not equipped to identify fat substitutes or preservatives, so store the calories as fat instead of converting them to useable energy.

Lifestyle Approach vs Dieting

A quote from the video above states:

the digestive system makes energy or fat, NOT both!

By controlling how you feed it, you are the only one that can decide whether your digestive system makes energy to burn or stores fat. Choose a lifestyle approach instead of a fad diet to help your digestive system work for you.

You should soon discover that this choice is much easier to maintain.