Wellness tip: advice and product suggestions for better digestion
Gut health is essential for good overall health. In recent years, I have developed tips and discovered products that help me take care of both my nervous and digestive systems (which both work together). Find out more below.
Better managing my stress and emotions
I strongly believe that when digestion is fine, everything is fine! Over two years ago, I really had problems with my digestive system. After having tried almost everything – cutting out gluten and dairy products (which I still do today), following a low FODMAP diet (which I adapted to my needs) and consulting a lot of specialists (gastroenterologist, applied kinesiology technician, osteopath, naturopath, herbalist, Ayurveda therapist, etc.) – I finally put my finger on what would help first and foremost my digestion: better managing my stress and my emotions. Indeed, since serotonin (also called “the happiness hormone”) is produced in the gut1, it goes without saying that if our mind suffers from chronic stress, our digestion will suffer just as much2.
There are two things I try to do to better manage stress and my emotions. The first is to be gentler myself, both professionally and personally (physically, emotionally and intellectually). I can’t do everything, let alone do everything perfectly. Secondly, I practice more yoga and meditation, even if I often want to go for intense physical activity. Put simply: I listen to my body to identify whether I need to spend my energy or whether I need to sit and focus. (I invite you to listen to the podcast episode I recently recorded about this.)
Products that help me support my emotional and digestive systems
Not only is it essential for maintaining a regular heartbeat, lipid metabolism, and regulating blood sugar and blood pressure3, magnesium assists in limiting stress, irritability and promoting better sleep4. Personally, it really helps me to calm my mental chatter. I like to use Natural Calm, which I dissolve in a cup of hot water before going to bed. This formula is not only soothing and comforting, but it is also more easily absorbed by the digestive system (especially if yours is easily irritable).
I have taken probiotic supplements every day (even when I travel) for many years, since they promote better gut health and therefore a better immune system. I had a conversation last year with Dr. Sarah Celik, an expert in digestive health, who taught me more about it:
“Probiotics are living microorganisms that support good gut health through various mechanisms in the body. Although research is in its infancy, we know that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are key species for optimal intestinal health. In addition to reducing inflammation in the gut and protecting the lining of intestinal epithelial cells, certain strains of specific probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and uncomfortable digestive symptoms. In 2012, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology demonstrated the role of probiotics in digestive conditions. The study revealed a reduction in abdominal pain and bloating. The probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum was used in this study and resulted in a significant reduction in incidents of incomplete bowel emptying. Studies like this have captured the attention of health professionals, leading them to recommend probiotics for good bowel health.”
This product is my favourite discovery this year. I started taking it last spring, after consulting a naturopath at Avril. It is a mixture of mucilaginous herbs5 (which contain mucilage, a plant substance that swells when in contact with water6). In addition to cleansing the bowel, it provides intestinal regularity, which allows the digestive tract to carry out its functions7.