Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Program for Digestive Health

Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Last Reviewed 08/27/2012
If you suffer with symptoms of chronic indigestion and you have a heart condition, follow this program. Within weeks, you should notice a change for the better.
Eat 5 to 9 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables daily. Eat half the servings raw, the other half lightly cooked. Raw foods contain plant enzymes that promote better digestion of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and soluble fiber. Avoid microwaved foods. They do not contain live enzymes.
Juice at least twice a week. Juicing lets you rapidly take in enzymes that support digestion and boost energy. If you don't have a juicer, I encourage you to buy one. Juicing is also great for promoting bowel health.
Take digestive enzyme supplements. The supplements I like have vegetable enzyme extracts, ginger, peppermint, bromelain, lactase, and carbohydrates that support friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. 
Consume green foods. Greens help support the GI tract and friendly bacteria (acidophilus and bifidus) in the gut that promote proper digestion, elimination, and colon health.
Drink eight glasses of filtered water per day. Drink a glass with each meal and when you take your vitamins and minerals. Water helps promote healthy digestion by flushing toxins through the kidneys. It also prevents dehydration, which can trigger constipation.
Limit gastric drugs. Don't use antacids regularly. Many contain aluminum, a nasty mineral that can cause constipation and promote Alzheimer's disease. Antacids with magnesium citrate or carbonate are preferable.
Consider probiotics & prebiotics. Probiotics are "friendly" bacteria that help you break down food and absorb nutrients, while they also limit the number of harmful bacteria in your gut and help regulate your immune system. These bacterial allies grow naturally in your intestinal tract, but they get clobbered by stress, poor diet, and medications (especially antibiotics). That's why I tell all of my patients that it's important to take a probiotic supplement regularly.
Some probiotics require refrigeration; others don't. You can find worthy probiotic supplements at health food stores and online. I particularly like probiotic supplements that contain the good bacteria strain Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, which has been shown in several clinical trials to both promote healthy digestion and convey specific health benefits to the cardiovascular system.
Probiotic bacteria can also be found in fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimichi, tempeh, and sauerkraut. Other foods—like berries, legumes, Jerusalem artichoke (a ginger-like tuber), oatmeal, flax, barley, dandelion greens, spinach, collard greens, chard, and kale—contain compounds that nourish the good bacteria. They are called prebiotics. Evidence suggests that prebiotics may improve the survival and implantation of probiotic supplements in the intestinal tract.

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