SHA Magazine Healthy Nutrition
How to avoid symptoms of poor digestive health
These are the symptoms of poor digestive health and how to avoid them
Heartburn, constipation, heaviness, bloating, diarrhoea, poorly tolerated food… These symptoms are obvious indicators of an intestinal imbalance, and can have negative consequences on both our quality of life and daily wellbeing. As Dr. Ámina Alani, digestive health expert at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, ‘Good digestive health means being free of symptoms and digestive issues, as well as no inflammation and a balanced microbiota. Moreover, as the gut is closely related to many other organs, any digestive disorders have a direct influence on the overall state of health’.
To find out how to achieve and maintain good digestive health, we must travel into the microscopic universe of the gut microbiota. This collection of micro-organisms, which inhabits the gut, performs multiple functions necessary for digestive and overall health. ‘It helps regulate the central nervous system, synthesises neurotransmitters, modulates the immune system and has a metabolic action that promotes digestion and nutrient absorption. When it becomes unbalanced (the medical term is intestinal dysbiosis), it stops performing these functions and digestive disorders appear,’ says the doctor.
To avoid this, the best solution is to follow a balanced and varied diet, rich in inulin, resistant starch, and other fibres. Fibre is mainly found in vegetables, fruit, and legumes. In addition, fermented foods (natural probiotics) also help to enrich the microbiota. Avoid processed foods, certain additives, too much fat, and sugary and fizzy drinks, as they can contribute to intestinal inflammation.
In addition to a varied and balanced diet, there are other factors that influence digestive health. The doctor recommends ‘trying to always eat at the same time, getting adequate rest, taking daily physical exercise, controlling stress and learning to manage it, because the intestine is interconnected with the brain and everything emotional directly affects the state of the microbiota’. She also stresses the importance of “being mindful of eating, as eating in a hurry and barely chewing can cause symptoms such as gas, bloating, heaviness and nutrients not being absorbed properly. Digestion begins in the mouth, which is why it is essential to chew each mouthful at least 10 times. This has a double benefit. On the one hand, we crush the food better and, on the other, we allow the enzymes present in the saliva to act, thus facilitating digestion”. Lastly, and living in a country where people eat very late, Ámina advises waiting two to three hours between dinner and bedtime.
Of course, with holidays so close, we have to learn to be a little indulgent with ourselves. ‘Summer excesses, chaotic schedules and the dietary transgressions typical of this period are detrimental to digestive health, but indulging from time to time is allowed, as long as it does not become the norm,’ concludes the doctor.
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