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Peter's Top tips to improve your bowel health

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					                 Peter’s Top tips to improve
                 your bowel health
1 Chew your soups and drink your                              of us! The recommendation is to eat more soluble
  solids                                                      fibre, like porridge oats, rather than the insoluble fibre
                                                              like bran fibre from wheat. Soluble fibre holds more
Chewing is the first part of the digestive process and        water which gives it better cleansing properties. My
people don’t do enough of it. Good lubrication is             favourite soluble fibre is from Psyllium husks because
needed to combine digestive enzymes with food and             it is so good for constipation and diarrhoea.
to help absorption of nutrients. Saliva lubricates food,
making it easier to swallow. It is also rich in a digestive   Don’t forget the water, drink an extra 2 litres per day,
enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates.                        it’s good for your bowels as well as general health.
                                                              Extra fibre means you need extra water.
Many don’t realise that a healthy digestive system and
healthy bowels are closely connected. When food               7 Mix your intake of probiotic friendly
is broken down more efficiently it makes it easier to          bacteria with Inulin
digest and this means that not only are vital nutrients
better absorbed in the small intestine,                       Most of us are aware of the benefits of the friendly
 but waste matter that arrives in the                         probiotic bacteria and how important they are.
colon is less ‘sticky’ and easier to                          Sometimes the acidic environment of the stomach
process. Food which remains                                   and the digestive tract can kill off the good bacteria
undigested, may in fact become an                             before it gets to the colon where it is most needed.
irritant to the large bowel.                                  However, there is one brilliant way to protect this and
                                                              other friendly bacteria that already exist in your colon
‘The early bird may get the worm,                             and that is to take inulin. This is a natural fibre that is
but the second mouse gets the cheese.                         contained in many vegetables like leeks, cabbage,
This old Zen saying should apply to how you eat your          onions and artichokes. The great thing about inulin is
food – Don’t rush it!                                         that it is very stable and is guaranteed to get to your
                                                              colon intact. Inulin is now produced commercially
2 Eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables,                       from chicory and is available in powder form. I always
  lots of olive oil, and fish.                                recommend taking it together with probiotic bacteria
                                                              as the two are synergistic.
This is fairly similar to a ‘Mediterranean diet.’ This is     This is recognised in scientific circles as the ‘synbiotic’
the diet which has been proven to be of most benefit to       effect.
the long term benefit of your bowels.
                                                              8 Consume less caffeine
3 Eat less red meat, pastries, crisps
  and processed meat                                          Caffeine should also be kept to a minimum as it is an
                                                              irritant and messes up your energy cycle.
This is typical of the food that many of us consume in
the west. Diets high in saturated fat (found in pastries)     9 Come off the laxatives
and red meat are more closely associated with colon
cancer.                                                       As a general comment, laxatives are OK to use
                                                              occasionally but if they are used on a long term basis
4 Eat less wheat                                              they can be habit forming. If you have been on
                                                              laxatives for a while, don’t suddenly stop taking them
The best advice is to be to keep wheat intake low.            as this can knock out your natural rhythm for a while.
The intake of gluten in wheat over many years is              The best advice is to wean yourself off them over a
reckoned to be one of the causes of bowel problems.           few weeks whilst increasing your levels of fibre like
Gluten is a tough protein which is difficult for the          linseeds and psyllium.
digestive system to break down and can become an
irritant for many.                                            10 Exercise
5 Eat less dairy                                              And finally, bad news for those of you who don’t
                                                              like exercise. Research in Taiwan at the Chang
Dairy also contains a protein (whey) that your body           Gung University has concluded that exercise also
finds difficulty in breaking down when taken in excess.       significantly reduces colon cancer. No real reason is
Also, milk contains lactose that a growing number of          known for this but an assumption can be made that
people are intolerant to.                                     athletes defecate more than none athletes (exercise
                                                              tends to enhance intestinal motility).
6 Eat more soluble fibre
                                                              This more frequent defecation pattern decreases the
In the United States the recommendation is to eat 55g
                                                              period of time that potential carcinogens in the colon
of fibre per day. In the UK, we eat on average less
                                                              are actually in contact with the lining of the colon.
than 15 g per day, so there is a long way to go for most

				
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posted:2/9/2011
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