Thursday, 11 April 2013

Digestive Health

April is IBS Awareness Month.  Around 10-20% of the population will suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) at some point in their life. Symptoms can include: stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. 

The cause of IBS is unknow, although it can someimes be linked to a prior food related illness. There is no specific test for IBS - it is diagnosed based on symptoms and physical examination, but your doctor can rule out other digestive conditions with specific testing.   While the condition is not thought to damage the bowel, it has a significant impact on quality of life.
There is no cure for IBS, but the symptoms can be managed by making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Food Diary

Foods that trigger IBS can vary from person, so keeping a food diary can be a helpful way of identifying trigger foods. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes a day.Keep a note book with you and write down the food eaten, date and time and any symptoms experienced.  Rate the severity of the symptoms on a scale of 1-10 and at the end of each week review the diary for any patterns that are emerging.This needs to be done for 1-3 months to gain a clear picture.

Chlorella supplement

Supplementing with  chlorella helps to maintain normal colonic function and digestive health. It acts as an intestinal broom, cleansing your gut by clinging onto toxins and eliminating them as waste. A recent study found people taking it had less constipation and more regular bowel movements.

Overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut has been linked to IBS. Prebiotic foods such as chlorella feed the friendly bacteria in your gut helping it to proliferate and reduce the pathogenic bacteria.
Eating when you feel anxious or stressed could disrupt your digestion and lead to stomach aches, cramping, bloating, indigestion and heartburn. Being stressed reduces the supply of blood to your stomach, which makes your digestion more sluggish.

Try to eat when you’re feeling calm rather than wound up. If you regularly feel stressed look for ways to relax – many people find yoga helpful for both stress and stomach problems – there are particular poses which are thought to improve digestion.

If you struggle with constipation, try doing more exercise. Inactivity is one of the biggest contributing factors to sluggish bowel habits.  Regular exercise helps to speed up the rate at which your food passes through your digestive tract. Just 10 to 15 minutes of walking a day could make a difference if you don’t usually exercise. Don’t be tempted to walk straight after a meal, though – you’re better off waiting.


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