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5 Tips to Improve Digestion and Boost Your Immune System

May 30, 2013

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If you’ve ever experienced gas, bloating, constipation, or allergies, you know what a challenge it can be to find relief that doesn’t come in a prescription bottle.

Even popular diets such as gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, or the blood type diet, all of which claim to provide lasing wellness, don’t always work for everyone.

The key, according to Integrative Nutrition guest speaker Donna Gates, is to maintain the body’s natural internal ecosystem. This can be done by supporting beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes, eliminating irritating foods that prevent digestion and absorpion, and being mindful of a few dietary methods that will aid in digestive efficiency.

The following five tips are aligned with the body ecology diet and will contribute to a stronger immune system and a happy belly:

Cut the sugar.
A growing body of research shows that overconsumption of sugar has a poisonous effect on the body. Even eating too many natural sweets such as fruit and honey can have a damaging effect on digestion by feeding internal yeast and contributing to Candida overgrowth. Try avoiding all sweets for a period of 7-10 days before slowly reintroducing them to gauge the effect that sugar has on your unique body. After that, aim to consume about ½ the sugar you were eating previously.

Eat lacto-fermented foods.
Cultured or fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, are rich in probiotics and digestive enzymes. These natural catalysts will not only help you break down and absorb the nutrients in food, they will also support a thriving immune system and positive mood. Just make sure the cultured veggies you buy say that they are raw and lacto-fermented, not simply soaked in vinegar.

Follow the 80% rule.
This rule is twofold. Firstly, aim to eat until you are 80% full so that there is space in your stomach for digestion to occur without any unwanted internal fermentation. And secondly, have alkaline foods like green vegetables take up 80% of your plate so that your digestive pH remains at a balance conducive to healing.

Eat fruit on an empty stomach.
This particular rule completely contradicts the idea of eating dessert immediately following a meal! However, according to Donna Gates and certain members of our staff who have personally experimented with this, it is one worth following. If the fruit (or other natural sugars like honey) have to wait to be digested because there is other food still breaking down, they will begin to ferment and produce toxins that cause uncomfortable symptoms. Having a juice or smoothie as your first meal of the day and waiting 2 hours before eating again is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while maintaining digestive integrity.

Increase ocean vegetables.
Ocean vegetables are frequently overlooked by even the most health-conscious foodies, yet they are rich in minerals, antioxidants, and protein which help to cleanse the body, fight cancer, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Sea vegetables include nori, wakame, dulse, kombu, and arame, and they can be added to a variety of dishes like cooked beans, salads, and even your morning smoothies!

You can explore the many wonderful nutrition experts in our curriculum and join an upcoming virtual info session to learn more about how Integrative Nutrition can help you gain optimal health and wellness.

What foods or eating rules have helped you heal?