Tag Archives: Digestion

After the Cleanse is Done

 

For those who are now squeaky and new inside, insure that your work was not done in vain with the following post cleansing care package.

During and Immediately After

Replenish with probiotics. These protective tiny living organisms like bacteria, viruses and yeast are similar to those residing in our gastrointestinal tracts. They are the “good bacteria” that have been known to help protect from infection and illness, and they are often stripped from the intestines by colon cleansers.  Yogurt, soy, kefir and miso are among the many foods that naturally contain live probiotics. But rest assure, if those foods don’t appeal to your tastes, probiotic supplements have been the buzz for quite some time and are available in liquid, powder, pill and chew forms (these usually contain freeze-dried bacteria).

The strongest I’ve seen available over-the-counter is 150 billion CFU’s. These, and counts above 10 billion are typically recommended by health care professionals for use after a cycle of antibiotics or to help manage certain GI issues.  4-10 billion CFU’s are appropriate for maintaining overall health and wellness and can safely be taken as directed by the product guidelines. Some of the terms you’ll come across on the packaging labels include:

  • CFU or Colony Forming Unit- indicating how many units are able to divide and form colonies. One unit equals a single bacterium.
  • Flora – often used interchangeably with bacteria, referring to the microscopic organisms that line the intestinal tract and are necessary to its normal functioning.
  •  “Live and Active Cultures”- this seal is placed on yogurt and other fermented foods or beverages that contained at least 10 million living and active bacteria per gram of the substance when it was manufactured. The “Active Cultures” statement is commonly listed on freeze-dried probiotic supplements.
  • Strains- there are many different strains of bacteria with histories of benefitting many different conditions. They can be supplemented individually or in groups, both large and small. Two commonly used strains are the lactobacillus acidophilus, known for its beneficial effect on gastrointestinal health, and bacillus, often used to relieve symptoms associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).Other commonly used strains include bifidobacterium, saccharomyces, streptococcus, and enterococcus.

Probiotics should not be supplemented when we are ill or functioning with a compromised immune system. If you are not certain whether supplementation is necessary or safe for your particular condition, researching the benefits associated with that condition and the use of probiotics will provide some clarity. But you should refer to your doctor for the strain and potency most suitable to your needs.

Immediately After and Ongoing

Restore with prebiotics. These non-digestible nutrients sustain and promote the growth of the healthy bacteria living in the intestines. Many foods contain prebiotics including dairy products, oatmeal, honey, berries, garlic, onions, asparagus, and kale. Consuming prebiotic containing foods helps maintain healthy levels of the beneficial bacteria and therefore, general gastrointestinal health.

Aid digestion with enzymes. Found naturally in saliva and secreted by the cells lining the stomach, pancreas, and small intestines,  enzymes help the body break down foods for fuller absorption and utilization of their nutrients.  More fully digested food also means less build-up within the gastrointestinal tract. Remember that one of the main purposes for cleansing the system is to remove undigested matter from the body.

Enzymes are also naturally occurring in certain foods, and when supplemented, they are taken during or immediately after a meal. Tropical fruits supply most supplemental enzymes:

  • Papain, found in papayas, helps with protein digestion.
  • Bromelain, from pineapple, also aids the breakdown of proteins. It is an anti-inflammatory helpful in remedying tissue irritations such as those experienced after surgeries and injuries.

Some enzymes like lactase, found in the small intestines and responsible for breaking down the milk sugar lactose, are supplemented to offset a deficiency. Supplemental enzymes are often measured in milligrams and come in varied dosages.

In the case of lactase deficiency/ lactose intolerance, it is important not to self diagnose and treat this condition. Instead, consult a physician or GI specialist for accurate assessment and appropriate recommendations.

Long Term Maintenance

Cleansing should not be a once in a lifetime occurrence. Ideally we should aim to do this 2-4 times per year, provided our immune systems are not compromised. So, there is no need to stress the occasional indulgence or period of laxity with our diets; however, a few consistent points of focus can keep us functioning at optimum levels between cleanses:

  • 8-10 eight ounce glasses of pure, clean water per day to help the body remove toxins
  • 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day to help maintain intestinal health
  • fruit and vegetable washes to remove pesticide and/or herbicide residues
  • super food blends such as my favorite Green Vibrance from Vibrant Health to help fill any nutritional gaps left by our food choices, time constraints and occasional splurges

Last but not least, let your original goals for cleansing dictate your food and beverage choices. There’s nothing better than starting fresh with a clean slate! Respect the investment you’ve made.

Take Care and BeWell 

 

 

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A Few Words About Natural Healing

The following are noteworthy when considering a nutritional supplement product or program:

The FDA disclaimer,” These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, ” often appears on commercially manufactured dietary supplements that specify their use or effect on the body. This statement is usually not placed on the packaging of products that do not state a specific use or benefit to using the supplement.

  • The Food and Drug Administration does not dedicate extensive attention or resources to monitoring the business of herbs and vitamins and minerals. It is responsible for , “..overseeing food sanitization and quality, acceptable manufacturing procedures, nutrition labeling and truth in packaging laws, interstate shipping of foods, and additive usage rules,”.* However certain filler ingredients can be lumped into broader categories such as, “…natural and artificial flavors”. Seek out as much unbiased information and feedback as possible before determining whether one is an appropriate supplement to include in your program.

Pills, Powders, Gummy’s and Chews, Liquids, Sheets…Oh My!

  • The most important consideration when selecting the form of supplement you’ll use is in what form you are most likely to take it and take it consistently. If you can’t comfortably swallow pills, then chewable or drinkable supplements will be better options. However, if you cannot stand to taste more bitter or acrid flavors then the sweetened chews and gummy’s will be more suitable alternatives.
  • The form of the supplement does impact its absorbability and therefore effectiveness for your body. Liquids are absorbed most quickly and fully by the body, followed by powdered nutrients and those broken down in the mouth either  by chewing or sublingually ( under the tongue ). Capsules are easier for the digestive system to break down than hard tablets, and large dense pills are the most challenging and time-consuming for the body’s digestive system. The deciding factors are both the overall health and efficiency of your digestive system as well as your individual preferences.

How strong, how much and how long?

  • If you are a basically healthy person with a well-balanced diet – complex carbs, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats – then a high quality multi vitamin and mineral complex offering 50-100%  of the nutrients’ recommended daily allowance should suffice. But, if you’ve been advised to supplement due to deficiencies, such as anemia, then higher doses may be more appropriate for limited periods of time.
  • Herbs, by mother nature, are in most cases designed to work more gently and slowly in the body than a pharmaceutical product. Consequently, they can  safely be used for longer periods of time.  Still, there  are herbs and natural substances that contain toxic components and should therefore be used with  caution, in milder concentrations, smaller amounts, and/or for shorter durations of time.

* Elson M. Haas, M.D., Staying Healthy with Nutrition, the Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1992