What causes IBS and how to improve digestive system

What causes IBS and how to improve digestive system
Just as IBS can cause stress and anxiety, stress and anxiety can contribute to IBS symptoms. The gut-brain axis is being recognised as a very real event by medical researchers. Our body has many messenger paths connected to our nervous systems that interact closely. When the brain is not happy, it disrupts the messages and functionality of the digestive system, contributing to symptoms such as nervous diarrhoea.

Food sensitivities and intolerances are becoming more common. These intolerances create inflammation and gaps in the gut wall (leaky gut) which aggravate the digestive system and the healthy bacterial colonies that reside in the intestines, leading to gas, bloating and constipation or diarrhoea.

An imbalance of bad bacteria to good bacteria can also cause ibs. Try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet, learn to enjoy kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or miso. These foods are rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals which will boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract.

A long history of medication uses and polypharmacy (many medications at once) can damage and inflame the gastrointestinal tract and may aggravate or contribute to leaky gut.

What are some of the dietary and lifestyle factors that may aggravate your symptoms?

• Drinking alcohol
• Drinking large amounts of caffeine
• Eating high amounts of sugars
• Medications
• Fatty, fried foods
• Food sensitivities
• Stress
• Environmental toxins
• A history of traveller’s diarrhoea infection

Overall Guidelines for improve digestion

• Reduce portion sizes and frequency – allow your body to efficiently digest foods
• Eat a healthy, varied diet
• Drink adequate amounts of fluids – particularly water
• Chew your food thoroughly to assist in the digestive process
• Identify actual intolerances – do not exclude food groups long term ‘thinking’ they may be causing symptoms to become aggravated
• Ensure dinner is eaten as early as possible to avoid going to bed on a full stomach
• Keep track of what you are eating and notice the symptoms – not all symptoms will present immediately – take these to a nutrition professional for assessment
• Stay active – this will improve digestion, reduce stress and enhance circulation
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Fibre is important but find your balance
• Avoid alcohol as much as possible
• Avoid caffeinated beverages – soft drinks, coffee and black tea
• Protect and enhance your healthy gut bacteria because they will return the favour!

Andriana xx

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