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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Good Digestive Health

by Brenda Cobb

Have you ever noticed that when you eat something that doesn’t agree with you, you have to pay for it for a while? When you are stressed out, does your stomach become upset too? About 70 million Americans suffer from digestive complications, many involving clinic visits and hospitalizations.

Turning these problems around can be as simple as making informed lifestyle changes. As an example, peppermint oil and a diet high in fiber can help people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Acid reflux and heartburn are among some of the most common digestive ills. If a person experiences these symptoms frequently, it may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is not only painful but also can harm the esophagus and even lead to esophageal cancer.

Heartburn typically involves a hot, burning feeling in the abdomen extending into the chest area. It is sometimes accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth, trouble swallowing, a dry cough or even asthma-like symptoms. Treatment options often include drugs to reduce acid levels, but such medications have risks; they can reduce vitamin and mineral absorption, and raise the risk of bone fractures and heart attacks.

Peptic ulcers, which are sores in the lining of the stomach or intestines, can be caused by smoking and alcohol; both elevate stomach acidity. If ulcers are left untreated, they can cause internal bleeding and could even eat a hole in the small intestine or stomach wall.

Each year, nearly a million Americans are diagnosed with gallstones; in fact, one of the most common surgeries in the United States is to remove the gallbladder. Gallstones can cause inflammation or infection of the gallbladder, pancreas or liver as well as symptoms such as fever, vomiting, nausea and pain.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two of the most common inflammatory bowel diseases, which can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and even anemia. These disorders may arise from an autoimmune reaction triggered by bad bacteria in the digestive tract.

Americans spend millions of dollars a year on laxatives to treat constipation. Overuse of laxatives can cause the intestines and gut to become dependent on them. Constipation, hard stools and straining could lead to hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

Start a better path to digestive health

You can start a path to better digestive health by making changes in your lifestyle and diet, and by managing your stress. Regular exercise, good hydration and a high-fiber diet including fresh vegetables and fruits can help. Follow these important steps to create a healthy digestive system:
  • Take a superior mega-spore probiotic to help create a better balance in the gut and to help with immune-system function.
  • Take deep breaths. Deep breathing helps calm the nervous system, which in turn helps regulate the digestive system. It sends signals down the vagus nerve, which starts at the brain stem and ends in the abdomen, to calm the stomach and the mind.
  • Drink a sufficient amount of water throughout the day. Dehydration can constrict your intestines, making it hard to have a bowel movement, and it can also affect your mood. Something as simple as drinking a glass of alkaline water first thing in the morning can be enough to get your digestive system moving. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay properly hydrated.
  • Eat healthy, fresh, high-fiber foods, including organic fruits and vegetables, and include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, which have natural probiotics to feed your gut.
There is also a link between sleep disorders and gastrointestinal issues. Inadequate sleep increases inflammation in the digestive system and worsens symptoms of acid reflux disease. During sleep, the digestive tract has time to rest and repair itself.

Taking care of your digestive system can have very positive effects on your overall well-being. A more balanced diet and good stress management can help you sleep better, feel better and live a happier, more productive life.


Improve your digestive health with this organic, plant-based recipe.

Coconut Avocado Kale


3 cups kale chopped 2 cups zucchini chopped 2 Tbsp coconut vinegar 2 Tbsp. coconut oil 2 Tbsp alkaline water 1 avocado 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

Combine the avocado, coconut oil, coconut vinegar, water and salt in the blender to create a creamy dressing. Toss the kale and zucchini and toss with the dressing so all is well coated. Enjoy!

Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle® and founder of The Living Foods Institute, which offers healthy lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging and more. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 800-844-9876, or visit

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