As we consider our health priorities, an important topic for all of us is our “gut” health. More and more research is supporting that gut health is intertwined in everything…and if our gut isn’t healthy it can make our bodies turn on us and can make us miserable and unhealthy in so many ways…
Some 2,500 years ago Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
He definitely knew what he was talking about and I agree that the single most important thing you can do to improve your health in 2018 is to focus on and heal your gut!
Did you know your symptoms of fatigue, belly pain, gas and cramps, brain fog, infertility, joint pain or even vaginal issues may be from a GI (gastrointestinal – aka “gut”) issue? Many people don’t realize that their gut may be the reason why they’re sick.
10 Superfoods to Soothe Your Digestive System & Reduce Bloating
Thanks to Dr. Audri Lanford for this article. She is the CEO of AustralianExcellence.com who is sponsoring a gut-related summit that I am participating in starting Jan 25, 2018, The Healthy Gut Experts Summit. If you want to learn more about the gut from 35+ experts, join me (I’m one of the speakers!).
Digestive issues can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing — and unfortunately often debilitating. And while food may cause many stomach problems, you can also use the right foods — especially “Superfoods” — to help relieve digestive problems.
Let’s look at Dr. Lanford’s 10 Superfoods — and what they can do for you…
What is Aloe Vera? Aloe vera is a succulent from tropical climates that has been used since the times of ancient Egypt. It has thick, fleshy leaves. If you cut open the leaves, you’ll find a gel-like substance that traditionally served as a home remedy for various skin issues, including sunburn and burns. Today, you can find it in a variety of products — from cosmetics to beverages.
How it helps your stomach: Studies have found that the juice of this plant significantly improves heartburn symptoms. The prestigious Mayo Clinic points to its ability to help with constipation. Plus, it’s full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which make it good for supporting the body’s natural detoxification process, and it helps calm inflammation to further soothe your stomach. It also contains enzymes that help break down food so it can help relieve constipation, bloating, and indigestion.
Ashwagandha Root Extract
What is Ashwagandha Root Extract? Ashwagandha is a plant that comes from traditional Ayurvedic medicine — one of the oldest medicinal systems in the world. Its roots and berries are used to treat a variety of health conditions.
How it helps your stomach: Ashwagandha is thought to normalize several of the hormones that can cause symptoms of various stomach problems. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits and is especially useful in soothing stress-related stomach issues.
Chamomile Flower Extract
What is Chamomile Flower Extract? Chamomile is a daisy-like flower known for being gentle and calming.
How it helps your stomach: Due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antispasmodic properties, it helps relax the muscles that line the stomach and intestines. Because of this, it has become a popular treatment to ease bowel movements and treat gas, upset stomach, stomach pain, cramping, indigestion, nausea, and stress-related flatulence.
What are Cloves? Cloves are the unopened flower on an Indonesian evergreen tree. They have been used for centuries to provide comfort, not only as a spice but also as a medicine. Many people use clove oil on their gums if they have a toothache.
How they help your stomach: Cloves can improve digestion because they stimulate the release of digestive enzymes, which will help break down your food. They are useful in reducing flatulence, upset stomach, diarrhea, gastric irritation, and nausea.
What are Fermented Foods? The process of fermentation is when you take something and break it down into something simpler. In the case of food, this is often done by allowing the food to sit (sometimes soaked in a briny solution) until its carbs and sugars are turned into agents that boost bacteria.
How they help your stomach: Fermented foods naturally contain probiotics that can boost “good” bacteria and, therefore, support a healthy gut. Basically, probiotics help restore balance to your digestive system and support digestion as a whole.
Licorice Root Extract
What is Licorice Root Extract? Licorice, known as the “sweet root,” is a plant that has been used in food and for healing for thousands of years. Since ancient Greece, China, and Egypt, licorice root has been used as a powerful digestive aid. Known for its distinct, anise-like flavor, licorice products are made from the dried root. Today, it is often used as a flavoring for candy.
How it helps your stomach: The chemicals in licorice can decrease swelling, its soothing abilities acting as an effective remedy for heartburn, stomachaches, constipation, inflammation of the stomach lining, and bowel irritations. Taking licorice extract also increases the chemicals in our body that heal ulcers, so it’s often taken as an ulcer treatment.
What is Marshmallow Root? Marshmallow root is an herb (yes, the one that actual marshmallows come from) that has a long history in traditional healing systems.
How it helps your stomach: Because it works as a mucilage (meaning it creates a slick gel when mixed with water), it can coat the stomach to protect and repair the lining and reduce irritation. It also contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids that ease leaky gut syndrome, inflamed bowels, diarrhea, ulcer pain, heartburn, and constipation.
What is Papaya Fruit? Papaya is an oblong, orange-ish fruit that grows on trees in tropical environments. It has been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid and is particularly effective at relieving gas and bloating.
How it helps your stomach: Papaya contains two very important enzymes: papain and chymopapain. These two enzymes help your body break down proteins and heal your stomach by creating a healthy environment. This means that papaya can aid in digestion and ease symptoms of an upset stomach, heartburn, inflamed bowels, and constipation.
Pine Bark Extract
What is Pine Bark Extract? Pine bark is exactly what it sounds like — bark from a pine tree. It is especially famous for its potent antioxidants and its ability to relax muscles and support healthy intestines.
How it helps your stomach: Due to its very high level of antioxidants, pine bark can be very successful in reducing inflammation. This means it can help relieve inflammation-related digestive issues.
Slippery Elm Bark
What is Slippery Elm Bark? Slippery elm bark is the inner bark of a deciduous tree found in North America. The Native Americans originally used it for skin issues. Today, it’s used to treat sore throats as well as a variety of digestive complaints.
How it helps you: Slippery elm is an almost magical ingredient to help tone your intestines. It coats the entire digestive track. High in antioxidants, it can help with inflammatory bowel conditions. And by causing your body to release more mucus, it works to protect and soothe the digestive tract. It has also been known to improve constipation, bloating, and diarrhea.
Many experts agree that mixing slippery elm powder in water or juice is the most effective way to ingest it. Unfortunately, it tastes like drinking sawdust when taken this way.
Copyright © 2018 by Australian Excellence Corp. Reprinted by Permission.
Thanks Dr. Lanford!
Note from Dr. Anna,
Of course, I can’t post an article on gut health without adding what I believe is the number one superfood, and that is maca!
Maca is an adaptogen, which means it can help support your adrenals, especially from the impact of chronic stress.
What does chronic stress cause? It causes our bodies to overproduce the stress hormone, cortisol. And cortisol can create the permeability issues seen with leaky gut, and cause inflammation and all the symptoms that go with an unhealthy gut.
Additionally, maca helps keep the body from being too acidic (stress is VERY acidic in itself) because it is very alkalizing. Research supports the many health benefits of an alkaline diet.
I use maca in my formula, Mighty Maca® Plus for these reasons, and that it supports healthy gut bacteria and digestion. It is loaded with other nutrients, too.