Digestion is the process by which the body breaks down food into smaller molecules to be absorbed into the body. It is important to optimize digestion because it is where we absorb nutrients that repair and rebuild cells as well as give us energy.
Many people suffer from digestive issues in our society today because of highly processed foods, toxins, stress, and our fast paced lifestyle. We have disconnected so much from our food that most people are unable to identify or prepare simple fruits and vegetables.
Luckily, we live in an amazing time of abundance and have access to the variety of nature’s healing herbs. There are simple herbs that can help stimulate digestive juices, relive gas, bloating, constipation, and can soothe and heal the digestive tract. These herbs and foods can be added to your daily for increased and optimal digestion.
Lets take a look at a few…
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger has a broad range of beneficial medicinal and culinary uses. It is a digestive stimulant which increases salivary and gastric secretions. It can be used to reduce flatulence and to quell nausea. Ginger also reduces cramping of the stomach and bowels, as well as menstrual cramping. It can be used in the treatment of motion sickness, and can also help to reduce morning sickness. The fresh root contains enzymes which enhance digestion.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – Fennel is a carminative herb that helps to reduce gas, warm up the digestive tract, and speed up the digestive process. You can chew a few seeds after a meal for freshening the breath and easing the digestion in the stomach. Fennel can also be ground up and boiled in a tea for about 5 minutes. Sip slowly!
Slippery Elm Bark – Used in North America as a digestive curative for centuries, Ulmus fulva, or slippery elm, contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. In addition to containing antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel conditions, slippery elm coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines.
Aloe Leaf (Aloe vera) – A super-healing plant to help ease digestion in general, and a good treatment for constipation. Look for the brand Aloe Life at our store!
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory and rich in both Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber (important for proper bowel movements). Add a tablespoon to your water bottle and get a boost of omega 3’s, calcium, fiber, and protein.
Fruit – Fruit is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants as well as fiber and water, all of which are beneficial to digestion and overall health. Eating water dense fruits like citrus, melons, and berries will also help cleanse the digestive tract.
This is a very simple introduction into adding some simple digestive herbs into your daily life to help improve your overall health- energy levels and mental clarity. Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut” so lets take better care of our digestive system by eating more fruit, drinking more water, and consuming digestive herbs as a part of our daily diet!