Poor digestive health is one of the biggest causes of dis-ease and sickness that manifests in the body.
And yet, most people today, even Doctors, don't trace these ailments and discomforts back to internal chaos and toxicities that have lead to these problems - usually due to sustained, poor dietary choices.
Centuries ago, Hippocrates taught that, "All dis-ease begins in the gut".
It's an ancient wisdom and truth that is hardly recognised in today's medical world.
Your gut is will be either a "River of Life" or a "River of Dis-ease", depending on what you choose to float down the river.
Your overall physical health basically comes down to the internal cleanliness of your alimentary canal (the digestive channel of your body that is the largest and most critical 'tube' in your 'house').
The origin of the word “alimentary,” dates back to 1615, from Middle Latin “ailimentarius” meaning “pertaining to food,” and from “alimentum” meaning “nourishment.” It also has roots stemming from the word “alere” which means “to nourish, maintain, rear or support.” “Canal” can be traced back to about 1449. Stemming from Latin, “canalis” means “pipe, grove or channel.”
How Your Digestive System Works
The alimentary canal, more commonly known as the digestive tract, is nine metres in length, running from the oesophagus to the anus.
Digestion begins at the mouth, where food is chewed and mixed with Saliva. This adds moisture and the enzyme amylase to the food that is needed to begin to break down starches.
The tongue moulds the food into a ball-mass known as the Bolus. The Bolus travels down the oesophagus, through the pharynx by the peristaltic movement, a muscular contraction.
The hormone gastrin arouses the secretion of acidic juices once the bolus enters the stomach.
This further aids in the digestion of the food mass.
The food is no longer in a solid state form after the stomach carries out its role in the digestion process. It’s now a lumpy liquid called Chyme.
The Chyme travels into a section of the small intestine known as the Duodenum.
Most of the digestion occurs here at this stage due to the different enzymes released by the pancreas and by glands in the intestinal wall that affect each food molecule in the Chyme.
At the end of this laborious process, each complex molecule has been broken down into a milky substance known as Chyle, where the Lacteals (milk suckers) absorb and transport the dietary fats to the thoracic duct where it is emptied into the blood stream.
What causes digestive problems?
It's no secret that overly dense or processed and 'life-less' foods and drinks place an extra burden on your digestive system, which not only will sap your energy, but over time and distance, it will cause illness and dis-ease to develop.
Because a blocked colon leaves food behind to rot in the digestive tract, the final process of digestion is not completed. Bacteria and toxins, called candida albicans, will take hold because of the rotting debris. Undigested food in the colon contributes to a multitude of diseases like colon cancer.
To avoid this and ensure that you're maintaining that 'river of life' inside of you, there are specific whole foods that you should pay attention to.
Foods That Help Digestion
If you have indigestion, problems digesting food or simply just want to improve digestive health with natural digestive aids, these are some of the best easy to digest foods, juice ingredients and herbs you should include in your diet to ensure ongoing, healthy digestion:
- Anise (Aniseed)
- Black Pepper
- Cilantro (Coriander Leaf)
- Ginger Root
- Green Peas
- Juniper Berries
One of the best ways to reset your digestive system is to also go on a juice fast for multiple days at a time to give your body a complete break from food. Learn how you can do this in Fruit & Vegetable Juicing: What You Should Know
Best Foods For Gut Health
Focusing your diet on whole foods, especially an abundance of fibre-rich fruit and vegetables will go along way to cleaning up your digestive system. These foods are also known as Prebiotics because they fertilize the 'good' bacteria in your gut.
Some of the best choices for a gut health diet include:
- Leafy Greens
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole grains (Make sure they're unbleached, unrefined and Non-GMO)
You’ll also want to include probiotics found in the form of Fermented foods e.g. Certain yoghurts and cheeses, cultured vegetables and organic tofu and tempeh.
Fermented liquids like Apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha and even unfiltered, preservative-free beer and organic wines in moderation will also help to stabilise gut ecology.
Learn more in Probiotics: Health Benefits & 7 Powerful Food Sources
In addition to these whole foods, there are also several Pure Plant Essential Oils that can assist you in cleansing and maintaining the health of your digestive system.
Learn more in 6 Pure Essential Oils To Support Gut Health
Fibre & Seeds
To top it off, there are incredible "fibres" that Mother Nature has provided that are particularly powerful for helping to speed up the internal cleansing process, so that your body can absorb nutrients more efficiently and you can feel lighter, overcome sluggishness and increase your energy!
Two of the most effective fibres on earth for aiding digestive function are Flax Seeds and Psyllium Husk.
That's why they're both key ingredients in both my:
"Get Things Moving" daily fibre boost blend;
...and our intense but super effective...
"Cleanse Me" 4 day natural colon cleanse protocol.
Flaxseeds are an earthy flavoured seed that are incredibly versatile. They are only slightly larger than a sesame seed but they contain an incredible amount of omega-3 fatty acids as well as fibre to keep 'your house' clean!
Psyllium contains an incredible amount of soluble dietary fibre which acts as a 'brush and binder' stripping waste and releasing it from your digestive system.
Learn more in Cleaning "House" With Nature's Seeds & Clays
You can read all about the specific nutritional components, benefits and healing properties of all of these whole foods and plant oils in my Farmacist Desk Reference (FDR) Encyclopedia of Whole Food Medicine.
How to Heal Your Gut
To ensure that your body maintains an internal River of Life, make sure that you're drinking plenty of water, moving regularly and being conscious about what you're eating and drinking on a consistent basis.
Digestive System Cleanse
Give your body a helping hand every once in a while by detoxing and cleansing your gut:
- Do a juice fast for a few days 3 - 4 times per year. Learn more in Fasting What You Should Know
- Add a daily boost of quality fibre to your diet in the morning with juice or water when you rise (before you eat)
- Have periodic enemas or "colonics" at a trusted clinic that uses 'gravity flow' technology. Learn more in Enemas & Colonics: Two Ancient Protocols For A Healthy Life Today
- Do a mini internal overhaul with my Cleanse Me 4-day natural colon cleanse protocol.
For additional information about the different pathways for cleansing and detoxifying your digestive system visit our Detox & Heal section.