Doctors can tell you the names of digestive disorders like GERD’s acid reflux, IBS irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and more; but if you have a problem, a doctor doesn’t have to tell you. The symptoms are abundantly clear: diarrhea or constipation, pain, gas, heartburn, hemorrhoids, nausea, bloating to name a few.
There is no doubt that digestive health is easier to keep than to rebuild, but if ever there were a system of your body that needs to be in balance, it is your digestive tract. Your digestion is not only the source of nutrition for your body, but it is also the waste disposal system. So be vigilant to restore the health of your mouth, esophagus, stomach, gall bladder, liver and intestines. They each play an important part in your ability to process food.
The mouth is the first step in the digestive process. Chew your food well and your saliva will start breaking down complex carbohydrates and breaks food into smaller pieces increasing the surface area for the digestive enzymes to work. As we mentioned in Digestion is the Key to Health Part I, by the age of 30, your body is already producing less digestive enzymes than you need.
The stomach is the acid-filled cauldron, where giant molecules are broken into small units. When operating properly, the pH of the stomach is about one, and that’s acidic enough to dissolve a nail within 36 hours. WOW! On occasion, people may suffer from acid reflux (aka heartburn) when contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. Most pharmacies devote entire aisles to selling chalky pills and fizzing tablets to alleviate systems like gas, bloating, nausea, heartburn and burping; but neutralizing the acid in your stomach also defeats the stomach’s ability to digest properly. Instead reduce your intake of coffee and soda. Manage your stress. Stress if often a major contributor.
The small intestine combines bile and other enzymes from the pancreas and liver to finish the job of breaking food into the pieces we absorb. The overall surface area of the small intestines is vast (it’s the size of a baseball diamond) so we have a giant environment for absorbing all those nutrients.
Diseases of the intestine and the colon usually evolve because of inflammation. This includes the whole inflammatory spectrum, from irritable or inflammatory bowel to the more severe ulcerative colitis. As inflammation increases, the ability to absorb nutrients declines creating a downward spiral.
After you have looked at your diet to clean it up from junk food (you know what that is – we don’t need to tell you), here are some great ways to support healthy digestion:
- EZ-Gest – Digestive enzymes for dairy, protein, fats, starches and carbohydrates. By the age of 30, your body is already producing less digestive enzymes than you need. The Shaklee Difference: Vegetarian formula with 5 plant-based enzymes
- Stress Relief Complex – We can’t stress enough (no pun intended!) how stress contributes to digestive upset. The Shaklee Difference: Natural, safe way to calm both the stomach the nerves. Also blunts cortisol release which will reduce the impact of stress on all the other organ systems.
- Alfalfa Complex – Chlorophyll, trace minerals and natural enzymes may be the reason many people find this herbal supplement helpful to take with meals. There are so many health benefits with Alfalfa besides improving digestion that this product is a great investment in your overall health. The Shaklee Difference: Alfalfa Complex is a Shaklee Signature Formula originally developed by Dr. Shaklee. Contains no fungicides, bacteriocides, synthetic hormones, growth regulators or chemicals. Finest premium alfalfa grown in California.
- Chewable Cal Mag Plus – Acid-loving calcium supplement. The Shaklee Difference: A complex of nutrients to promote not only stomach health, but also bone health!
- OptiFlora System – Our favorite natural solution for digestive health is this probiotic. Not one from the health food store or anywhere else, but this one. We feel everyone should be taking it. The Shaklee Difference: Guaranteed live bacteria to the colon. For added benefit, there is a two-product system with a pre-biotic to encourage the growth of the good bacteria in the probiotic.
- Stomach Soothing Complex – Very soothing and also recommended for motion sickness such as traveling by car, boat, plane. The Shaklee Difference: Unique four-herb formulation combining ginger, peppermint oil with anise and fennel. You can dissolve tablets in warm water and drink as a tea.
- OmegaGuard – Reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and in your body. The Shaklee Difference: Pure, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil.