Are you in the majority? Believe it or not, the majority of Americans want to improve digestion since they experience digestive issues on a monthly (or more frequent) basis. In fact, according to the National Institutes for Health, 60-70 million Americans are affected by all digestive illnesses (1). Surveys also suggest that over 70% of adults suffer from diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, constipation, and more at least monthly.
Is it really that surprising?
Our digestive tracts have a really big job, every day. They never get a break. They are one of the only organs bombarded daily with external substances.
In fact, they are in the initial filter by which most of our body interacts with outside substances. Like the lungs, they come in direct contact with both healthy and unhealthy substances from our environment. Think about the filters in your home or vehicles. They get dirty, beat up, and torn down. The same can happen to your digestive tract if not properly cared for.
The digestive tract is also really large. It includes about 7 digestion organs (the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (aka colon), rectum, and anus) and 4 digestion accessory organs (the salivary glands, pancreas, gallbladder, and liver) (2). The tract itself covers a surface area of about 400-500 square feet (3). Interestingly, this number has been reduced from an estimate of 2500-3000 square feet to 400-500 in just the last 10 years after new evidence emerged that it is smaller than previously thought.
In other words, there’s a lot to this system of organs, it does a lot of work every day, and a lot can go wrong.
How can you improve digestion today? Here are 3 tricks to get started.
Amazingly, there is a strong brain-gut connection. In fact, as digestive health falters or becomes inflamed, the brain experiences inflammation. This may look like brain fog, memory loss, fatigue, and even invite neurodegenerative issues. In fact, a recent study published in Scientific Reports showed a link between gut bacteria and dementia (4).
On the flip side, as brain health falters, the digestive tract is affected and often impaired. Stress, for example, can ignite a series of digestive issues from ulcers to diarrhea to nausea. Why do we “feel things in our guts?” It’s the brain-gut connection.
To improve digestion, then, do everything you can to support brain health. Try to:
To learn more ways to support brain health, see our 11 Top Tips.
Simply put, some foods and nutrients damage your gut. Some fortify it. The more we damage our guts, the more digestive issues arise, and more and more foods become intolerable to it.
In some cases, food simply does not “set well” in our guts. In other cases, the food or nutrient actually hurt. This can lead to inflammation and a cascade of digestive issues.
On the other hand, there are many foods that fortify both the healthy bacteria and cells in our guts. Most of these foods contain soluble fibers (prebiotics) and healthy bacteria (probiotics).
To improve digestion, eliminate or reduce:
To improve digestion incorporate:
To learn more, read our post on the health benefits of fiber and tips to improve gut bacteria.
Are you a victim of the rush, rush, rush mentality? Are you overscheduled and burnt out? Do you have little time to cook at home and focus on foods that improve digestion? If so, your busy lifestyle is likely hurting your digestion.
If you can find ways to slow down, you’ll have time to really utilize tricks #1 and #2 to improve digestion and brain health. It’s challenging to slow down in the midst of many demands, but it’s incredibly important.
What can you do to simplify your life and leave the hustle and bustle of the modern stressed-out schedule? How can you make more foods at home (even simple foods such as grilled chicken or an easy slow cooker meal)?
Can you clear your schedule and allow for more downtime? Non-activity time? Time outside in nature or in a garden?
How can you incorporate daily gratitude, optimism, and prayer within your family?
Even if you can only think of one thing you can do to slow down and look up within nutrition and pace of life, you can improve digestion and brain health! Take a few moments to jot down ways you can do so today.
If you are ready to really improve digestion and overall health, it’s time to get Dr. Colbert’s Healthy Gut Zone book or the Healthy Gut Zone Starter Kit (includes the Healthy Gut Zone book, Fiber Zone supplement, and the Beyond Biotics digestive supplement) today. You’ll find a clear plan that supports digestion, improved overall health, and additional protection for your brain. What’s more, Dr. Colbert’s fiber and probiotic supplements utilize the best fibers and bacteria strains that support optimal gut health.
The digestive tract is amazing. It takes substances outside our bodies and breaks them down for energy, fuel, and nutrients within our entire bodies. It is strongly linked to our brains, and every other system depends on it.
You can support digestion and overall health, starting today, with these 3 tricks. What’s more, a great digestion health plan is only a click away! Get your Dr. Colbert’s Healthy Gut Zone book or the Healthy Gut Zone Starter Kit. Learn how to support digestive health in every area of your life, from stress to lifestyle to sleep to nutrition. The entirety of your health depends on your gut. Get started today!