Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Health Begins With Digestion

Do you think much about how your digestion affects health? It has a profound effect on how well you feel and how your entire body functions. Here are some tips for successful digestive function:
  • Limit beverage intake while eating - most overeating occurs because of dehydration, so hydrate before and after you eat - 1/2 hour before and 1 to 2 hours after eating. If you do drink with meals, limit your intake to something warm that will aid digestion such as chamomile, peppermint, or ginger tea. And drink no more than 4 ounces.
  • Chew your food well - at least twenty times.
  • Use correct food combinations when eating - eat fruit alone, between meals. Avoid mixing proteins and carbohydrates - eat rice, potatoes, and grains away from proteins and vegetables. Eat dairy products alone.
  • Eliminate refined and processed foods from your diet.
  • Eliminate trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Replace with grapeseed and coconut oils (for high heat cooking), and pumpkin seed oil and olive oil for raw consumption (great for salads).
  • Eat raw dairy - milk, butter, cheese, cream, and yogurt.
  • Take an Omega 3 supplement daily - cod liver oil is best in winter. Try Carlson's and Mercola's brand.
  • If you eat grains, give yourself a break from wheat, which is normally the most processed and causes the most allergies/health problems. Try whole sprouted grains (such as Ezekiel) including amaranth, quinoa, millet, kamut, buckwheat, and occasionally spelt. But use care not to eat a large number of servings of grains per day. One to two servings is sufficient and will help keep away issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, candida syndrome, and other more serious problems like IBS or Crohn's Disease.
  • Eat more fermented foods - kefir and real yogurt made from raw milk, cultured vegetables, and sauerkraut.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Raw juicing with plenty of greens is a good way to get your daily intake. When juicing, avoid high glycemic choices such as carrots and beets. For a good guide to juicing, visit Dr. Mercola's site.
  • Eat your largest meal earlier in the day. Don't eat after 6:00 p.m.
  • Avoid soy unless fermented such as miso or tempeh. Do not eat soy cheese, milk, or soy proteins. These foods are all processed and soy contains phytic acid which inhibits the absorption of minerals and nutrients into the body. Soy also contains estrogen which can be harmful in excess and especially for men and boy's reproductive systems.
  • Drink half of your weight in water daily - for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water.
  • Make sure you take plenty of fiber in your daily regimen. Ground flax seeds are a good choice (available in the bulk section of the health food store). Good products to take include Colon Plus by Biotics Research, Sonnes products, and Fiber Harmony.
  • Take a good probiotic daily. Good brands include PB8, Nature's Life, Complete Probiotics from Dr. Mercola, BioDophilus Caps and BioDophilus FOS by Biotics Research, and Prescipt-Assist. As you have trillions of cells in your body, you cannot overdose on these friendly bacteria which are one of the most critical keys to good health and proper digestion.
  • Mealtime should be relaxed and stress-free. If you are anxious or upset, avoid eating.
  • Foods that do not digest properly such as processed foods or because of stress result in overgrowth of harmful bacteria and digestive disorders as well as lethargy, mood disorders, and other issues.

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