Food in, waste out

Sick to your stom­ach? It may well be time to show some love to your di­ges­tive sys­tem.

Element - - Contents - By Lani Lopez Lani Lopez BHSC, Adv.dip.nat, is a clin­i­cal nutri­tion­ist, au­thor and a spe­cial­ist for­mu­la­tor of natur­o­pathic sup­ple­ments. Find out more at or con­tact her at natur­opath@

Top tips for di­ges­tive health.

The di­ges­tive sys­tem is a sim­ple con­cept, food in, waste out. We pay at­ten­tion to what we put in but when did you last con­sider your waste dis­posal func­tion? Di­ges­tion ex­tracts the nu­tri­ents from our food, si­mul­ta­ne­ously sep­a­rat­ing out tox­ins and waste be­fore clean­ing house, ex­pelling un­wanted and po­ten­tially toxic end waste.

The last stop for waste is the colon (large in­tes­tine). A clogged colon means nu­tri­ents may not be ab­sorbed and tox­ins build-up, with de­cay­ing food pro­vid­ing a breed­ing ground for harm­ful bac­te­ria re­sult­ing in sys­temic in­tox­i­ca­tion (poi­son­ing). Symp­toms of sys­temic in­tox­i­ca­tion in­clude: • Stom­ach pain and cramp • Di­ar­rhoea or con­sti­pa­tion • Ex­ces­sive flat­u­lence • In­di­ges­tion and bad breath • Mus­cu­lar and joint pain and stiff­ness • Mus­cle weak­ness and fa­tigue • Brain-fog, con­fu­sion, ir­ri­tabil­ity • Al­ler­gic re­ac­tions in­clud­ing hives, sneez­ing, cough • De­pres­sion and anx­i­ety Any of these may present at dif­fer­ent times, with fluc­tu­at­ing sever­ity. Ge­netic fac­tors or di­etary and en­vi­ron­men­tal trig­gers all play a part in the di­ges­tive bal­anc­ing act that starts with our first meal. At birth the di­ges­tive sys­tem is ster­ile, but bac­te­ria en­ter with the first feed, to play an im­por­tant life-long role in our health.

Gut flora (bac­te­ria) is cru­cial to di­ges­tive health, pro­duc­ing nu­tri­ents as well as stim­u­lat­ing im­mune func­tion. Ill­ness, poor nu­tri­tion, colon block­age or an­tibi­otics de­plete healthy gut flora, en­cour­ag­ing harm­ful bac­te­ria lead­ing to gas­tro-in­testi­nal dis­ease.

As ever, preven­tion is the best treat­ment and in­volves man­ag­ing good gut hy­giene, health and gut flora, all done, pri­mar­ily, by diet.

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