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Our digestive system contains trillions of bacteria known as gut microbiota which, as well as protecting us from foreign microorganisms, also transform the food we eat so that it can be properly digested. Over the years, it is easy for our digestive system to suffer from minor discomfort to more severe disorders.
What are the most common digestive system disorders?
We highlight three:
- Constipation. It happens when you pass stools with difficulty and bowel movements are fewer than three times a week. Possible contributing causes: a low-fibre diet, lack of hydration, a sedentary lifestyle or taking certain medications, among others.
- Intestinal dysbiosis. This is a lack of balance where the microbiota composition is not correct due to:
- An increased foreign bacterial presence in our body (so-called pathogens).
- Deficiency (low numbers) of beneficial micro-organisms, e.g. caused by taking antibiotics.
- Loss of microbial diversity. Meaning, that there are fewer bacterial species than there should be.
Gut dysbiosis is associated with pathologies such as diarrhea, inflammatory bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome. Numerous studies have also shown that an unbalanced microbiota population may be linked to disorders such as obesity and associated pathologies.
- Poor bile production. This is a digestive juice produced and secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Thanks to the bile we digest the food fats as they pass through the small intestine. It also helps the body eliminate toxins, cholesterol, and worn-out red blood cells. When the body cannot secrete bile, fats are poorly digested and heavy digestions occur.
How to improve your digestive system?
Sometimes, we feel stomach discomfort due to a heavy lunch or dinner. We must remember that our digestive system will improve its performance if we treat it appropriately and follow certain recommendations. We are going to give you eight useful tips that will help you improve your digestion.
- A plant-based and whole foods diet. We recommend eating fruits and vegetables, followed by legumes, natural nuts, whole grains, tubers, and seeds. These foods are rich in antioxidants and fiber, which help prevent constipation. Besides, they have a prebiotic effect. Meaning, these foods help to have a balanced flora.
- Eat fermented foods. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, homemade pickles, kefir, kombucha, cheeses and umeboshi. These are all natural sources of probiotic bacteria.
- Limit animal protein intake. Aim that it does not exceed 10% of your total diet. Several studies confirm that a high intake of animal proteins can increase the pathogenic intestinal flora causing the aforementioned intestinal dysbiosis.
- Eat good quality fats. Extra virgin olive oil consumed raw, avocado, nuts, and other raw nuts, as well as oilseeds (linseed, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower), have an excellent lipid profile. They are also rich in polyphenols, which have a beneficial effect on our digestive health.
- Cooking food in a healthy way. The best options are steaming, blanching, sautéing, and simmering. With these cooking methods, we will make much better use of the micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – with antioxidant action that are present in vegetables.
- Exercise regularly. It will help keep your digestive system healthier by reducing the risk of constipation and reducing the feeling of heaviness when digesting. Ideally, you should do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least three days a week.
- Drink at least 1.5 liters of water every day. Fennel, coriander, mint, liquorice, ginger, and other herbal teas are also recommended. They help improve your digestion. If you suffer from stomach pain, it is advisable to drink water rich in bicarbonate. Another tip to help your liver and improve your digestion: drink the juice of half a lemon dissolved in warm water. Avoid drinking alcohol and fizzy drinks rich in sugar.
- Eat in a relaxed environment. Keep to the same schedule and dedicate at least 20 minutes to each of the 3 recommended meals a day. Avoid snacking between meals and, when eating, it is better not to do so while looking at screens.
Zenement products for your digestive system
- Proactiflora. Contains 19 strains and 30 CFU per serving that will help you balance your intestinal flora. It also contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber, which will allow bacteria to better colonize the intestine. The capsules are gastroresistant, so you can take them either with food or on an empty stomach. Proactiflora provides good support after a course of antibiotics, if you have suffered from decomposition, constipation, etc. It will also help you to strengthen your immune system during the winter.
- How to use: take 2 capsules per day, before or during one of the day’s main meals.
- Liver Detox. This product contains milk thistle, which helps to protect the liver; artichoke, which stimulates its functions (production and secretion of bile) and dandelion, with diuretic and appetite-stimulating action. These three actions will help you to improve heavy digestions and get rid of toxins. (An example would be heavy Christmas meals). Liver Detox is also a good coadjuvant in slimming diets.
- How to use: take 1 capsule in the morning with breakfast and 1 in the evening with dinner.
- Glucomannan. It is a root that is composed of non-digestible fibers that, by capturing water, swell in the stomach and generate a satiating feeling. It is this property that helps to lose weight. According to several studies, glucomannan can help reduce constipation and improve glycemic control. It also contains Vitamin B3 and Chromium. It should be taken with plenty of water so that the fibers can swell properly.
- How to use: take 2 capsules before each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with plenty of water.