Taking Care Of Your Digestive System In Every Season
Digestion keeps us alive, gives us energy, and provides raw material for rebuilding cells and issues. The main goal of digestion is to break down carbohydrates, protein and fats food into simpler compounds for absorption of nutrients. The digestive tube runs from the mouth to the anus and is exposed to the outside world through the foods we take in. The entire digestive process takes 24-72 hours, depending on the individual, and other factors such as food eaten and emotional state. Food is broken down by mechanical digestion such as chewing and chemical digestion like breakdown by enzymes.
We now know that the digestive health has more functions other than breaking down foods such as the production of the hormone serotonin which determines mood and behaviour. In fact, 70-78% of the immune system lives in the digestive tract. These functions are taken care by the bacteria that live within the digestive tract. Hence, taking care of these wonderful organisms is essential to have the digestive system function optimally.
Optimal digestive functioning is essential to cope up with weather change, for example rainy season is associated with a weakened digestion or winter is associated with allergies. It is important to note that it is not the climate or any other external factor which is a problem but how healthy or unhealthy is the ecosystem within you. Therefore, it is essential to feed this digestive tract with high quality nutrient-rich foods and avoid foods that can lead to damage.
Few digestion problem symptoms include nausea, vomiting, flatulence, abdominal bloating and pain, a feeling of fullness immediately after a meal, acid reflux, heart burn, food allergies and intolerances, mood swings and brain fog.
Best foods for digestion include:
Eat a diet rich in fibre. Fibre is food for the bacteria that live in the digestive tract and is important to reduce inflammation in the intestinal tract. Rich sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains such as rajgra, oatbran, barley and millet. Include beans such as rajma and kabuli chana in your diet.
Introduce fermented foods in your daily routine such as fermented cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, cucumber and raddish. These can be made with vegetables, water, salt and herbs. And beneficial fermented foods include apple cider vinegar, curd and cocoa powder. These are rich in the beneficial bacteria that are essential for healthy digestion.
Consume moderate amount of healthy fats such as ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil along with some omega 3 foods such as fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, salmon and walnuts and flax seeds. Good fats help to lower inflammation in the body preventing cancer in the intestinal tract and help the body to eliminate toxins. Coconut oil helps to inhibit harmful bacteria that cause inflammation in the digestive tract.
Experiment with bone broth, a healthy drink made with boiling the bones of healthy animals in water along with herbs and spices helps to aid digestion and boost immunity. This can be added in daily soups or consumed independently.
Add turmeric in cooking. This medicinal herb has a protective effect on the gut lining. Turmeric helps to break down the food and enhance nutrient absorption and lower inflammation. Try Tata Sampann Turmeric Powder which contains natural oils and comes with a 3% curcumin guarantee.
Introduce saunf (fennel seeds) and jeera (cumin seeds) water before lunch and dinner. This helps to release the digestive juices for better digestion and prevents bloating and gas.
Honoring the sacred act of digestion also is an essential part of taking care of the digestive system. This includes practicing deep breathing before eating meals and mindfully chewing your food. Incorporate these practices in your food to have a healthy digestive system throughout the year.
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