A healthy digestive system is at the root of all health. That’s logical because your digestive tract is the basic source of the nourishment every cell in your body needs. Your gut is a very delicate ecosystem with more flora (healthy bacteria) in it than all the other cells in the body put together. When this ecosystem is healthy, your digestive tract has the proper balance of stomach acids and bacteria. This allows your body to breakdown food for nourishment and cell repair.
Without the ability to absorb nutrition from your food and eliminate waste, you may experience all kinds of health issues that, on the surface, don’t seem to be related to digestion. It’s good to remind ourselves that the lining in your gut is actually part of your immune system.
Therefore, it is important to eat the healthiest and most nutritious diet possible.
But if your stomach and intestines aren’t working efficiently, even the ideal diet won’t do as much for your health. You’re not going to be able to optimally extract and absorb the chemical building blocks your body depends on. You are not what you eat but what you absorb.
By eating more whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits, you will improve your digestion. Aside from the huge benefit of having your digestive system in tip-top condition, you will also reduce inflammation that in turn decreases your risk of so many of the non-communicable diseases that plague society. There are countless ways to increase your metabolism and improve your gut health. The number of people suffering needlessly with digestive diseases, in particular, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) continues to escalate.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Many clients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease tell me that they have been told by their doctor to have a low-fiber diet. If you have IBD, fiber intake must be monitored to an extent; however, as I see it, the most important gut health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet is in actual fact the fiber. The fiber is the pre-biotic that the gut bacteria thrive on. I have my clients with IBD introduce short grain brown rice cooked with an umeboshi plum. This is incredibly nutritious and soothing for the digestive system. This simple medicinal method of cooking is a fantastic way to strengthen your digestive system – try this for a period of 21 days. Simply make the rice as you do for your morning porridge and add a half umeboshi plum (diced) towards the end of cooking.
Plant-based foods can actually reduce IBD activity by promoting a healthy microbiome, helping maintain the mucus layer, reducing the formation of pro-inflammatory mediators and by inhibiting the action of harmful bacteria. A ginger compress is also of huge benefit so take some time and assist your body in healing.
If you currently are on a low-fiber diet, I would recommend a gradual change such as introducing the short grain brown rice as suggested, a little fruit, (cooked fruit is best) then add in small portions of beans or lentils with some steamed vegetables. Monitor the outcome daily as you add more fiber to your diet. All of our clients have wonderful results and have reversed their disease by following these simple steps.
In good health,
A long-time vegan, lover of animals, nature and life and passionate about human ecology. As an eternal optimist, increasing the number of people worldwide to switch to a wholefood, plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle is her mission. Together with her husband Bill Tara, they have created The Human Ecology Project.