6 tips to spring clean your digestion

Simple tips for cleansing your system as the seasons change

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Alison Cullen
Nutritional Practitioner, BA (Hons), DN, DNT (Distinction)
@AVogelUK
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05 February 2019

1. Concentrate on chewing

It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s true! Nowadays we’re often too worried about what we’re eating to notice that we’ve neglected simple, yet necessary eating habits. Many digestive symptoms are thought to stem from the fact we are lacking in digestive power (namely in the form of sufficient secretions) to break down the food we eat properly. But, guess what? If you chew your food properly, at least up to 20 times per mouthful, you’re much more likely to get this process off to the best start! Chewing your food helps to dramatically increase the surface area of your recent meal, which means it’s much more easily digested by the time it reaches your stomach and beyond.

My Top Tip:


If you suspect that you need some digestive support try taking our Artichoke tincture, 3 times daily for at least a month or two; traditionally used to support your digestion.

"I have used this product for many years!"

 

Read what other people are saying about Artichoke.

If you’re chewing and chewing but still feel you need some extra digestive support this spring, you can take a dash of a herbal bitters complex such as our Milk Thistle Complex 5-10 minutes before meals. This can help support and protect some of your key digestive organs such as the liver.

How could you benefit?

You can benefit from chewing in a number of ways; firstly, as a result of slowly and more efficiently you’ll feel fuller more quickly (ideal if weight loss is also on your mind), you’ll make better use of the nutrients contained in your food (this is the whole point of eating well, right?). Plus, you may just feel less bloated. 

In a recent A.Vogel survey bloating was the most commonly reported digestive symptom that our customers wanted to manage. If your food is being properly broken down as early as your mouth, the bacteria that line the length of your digestive tract will have less substances to ferment, and won’t be so likely to create lots of excess gas.

2. Actively up your water 

Again, adding more water into your regime doesn’t take much effort and is also a budget-friendly tip – and, you could be surprised how much difference it could make to how you look and feel.

Water helps to support almost every system in your body and your digestive system is certainly no exception.  Aim to drink at least 1.5l of plain, still water daily. This really is the best option; fizzy water has been linked with adverse changes in appetite and symptoms such as bloating. If your excuse is you’re struggling with the taste, add in some fresh fruit until you become more accustomed to it. 

How could you benefit?

Did you know that getting your bowel moving (with the help of some extra H20 of course) is one of the best detox methods available to us? Overloading your system with a whole number of health supplements is completely pointless if your main exit route for toxins is all blocked up. 

See, our liver, kidneys and bowel all work as a  perfect detox symphony to rid our body of toxins on a daily basis, and water will help assist with this, leaving you feeling refreshed and much less sluggish all-round.

3. Scrimp on the sugar

If you’re keen to make some positive dietary changes this springtime, reducing your sugar intake is a good place to start. Sugar is hidden in everything; there are the more obvious culprits such as sweet treats and fizzy juice. Unfortunately sugar is hidden in lots of sources of carbohydrates and generally the more processed the items are, the higher the sugar content. 

Breakfast cereals, white bread, rice, pasta and products labelled ‘low-fat’ are all secret offenders which we really need to be avoiding at all costs!

How could you benefit?

Sugar is pro-inflammatory in the body. This means it can exacerbate symptoms, such as those caused by IBS, but it also makes a beeline for your gut bacteria. 

Maintaining your gut bacteria is a delicate balancing act; too little good gut bacteria, or if we give bad bacteria or yeast the chance, or resources (hello excess sugar) to overgrow, then we could soon find that horrible symptoms, including bloating and changing bowel habits, are more likely to crop up. By cutting down on sources of dietary sugar, you can ensure you include more good quality foods in your diet instead, which will help to naturally reset this balance.

4. Fill up on fibre

Whilst reducing sugar is one top food tip, upping your intake of fibre is another useful tactic for cleansing your system. So where is fibre to be found? Fresh foods of course! From colourful fruit and vegetables to wholesome grains including brown rice, barley, millet, oats, plus your peas, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds; fibre isn’t hard to come by if we’re cooking from fresh. 

How could you benefit?

Once again, fibre will encourage your bowel to move along more efficiently, which will allow for the more efficient elimination of toxic waste – this is always going to make you feel better! 

Eating more wholefoods will also mean–you’re much more likely to have a greater intake of nutrients, and in the ‘wholefood’ form meaning they are likely to be better absorbed. However, you might be surprised to know that fibre can also potentially help with a whole host of other health issues too – from cardiovascular health to cholesterol management, so it’s definitely something to increase. 

5. Get to grips with pre- and probiotics  

Pre- and probiotics are rising in popularity and are all the rage for customers throughout health food stores who are attempting to get troublesome digestive symptoms under control.  

However, are you using them in the correct way? If you suspect the balance of bacteria in your gut is a little off, then it might not be so useful just to load up on high strength probiotics straight away. Firstly, we want to ensure that the internal environment of the gut is being sufficiently supported and we can help achieve this with the help of some prebiotics.

My advice is to introduce a prebiotic, such as Molkosan, first and then after a few weeks of using this daily, you can begin to introduce some good quality probiotics. 

How could you benefit?

By supporting the balance of bacteria in our gut we can help to minimise local digestive symptoms such as bloating or irregular bowel movements; but actually, having a focus on gut health could also help to support a number of bodily processes including healthy weight management1.

This one in particular will be more than welcome ahead of summer I’m quite sure!

6. Sort out your sleep

You may not assume that sleep and digestion are closely connected but let me assure you that they are! When we sleep our parasympathetic nervous system is dominant, otherwise known as our ‘rest and digest’ mode – need I say more? Whilst we sleep, our digestive system is far from sleeping; it’s working away and a good indicator that all is well in this department is waking up in the morning and needing go to the loo. 

Another interesting point to consider are the links between our digestive system, sleep and mood. We know that digestion and sleep are linked, but actually, our mood is also influenced by how much sleep we get, as well as our digestion. Our digestive system and mind are thought to be linked by a unique set of nerves, known as the ‘gut-brain axis’ and it’s also likely our gut bacteria may, again, have some influence. Serotonin, the feel good hormone, is actually most abundant in our gut. Happy gut, happy mind anyone?

How could you benefit? 

By sleeping better your gut functions are most likely going to improve. See, sleep is vital for a number of reasons: 

Firstly, it gives your gut time to rest! During the night is a rare time we aren’t bombarding our digestive tract with food, and instead your system can work away quietly, processing what’s already there. Next, there’s also something more extensive going on in the way of repair work. It’s becoming more recognised that many health conditions affecting the gut are likely to involve some degree of subclinical inflammation and sleep is the very time your system can have the chance to work on reducing this. If we compromise sleep, this essential repair work may not be carried out and our symptoms could eventually begin to get the better of us.

If you need a helping hand when it comes to sleep why not try our Dormeasan sleep remedy. Simply take 30 drops, 30 minutes before bed to help you drift off into an effortless slumber.

 

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4761174/

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)

50ml

£ 10.50

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Tincture of organically grown Cynara scolymus herb. Fresh plant extract.
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Molkosan® Original – A prebiotic for good gut bacteria

200ml

£ 5.99

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Prebiotic whey drink, rich in L+ lactic acid, for good digestion. Also available in 500ml size.
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Here’s what I recommend

As the A.Vogel Digestion advisor, I recommend Digestisan with extracts of Artichoke and Peppermint, to help support your digestion.

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Did you know?

According to naturopathic principles, when two or three meals are being eaten daily, the bowel should move at least once or twice a day.

What are healthy bowels?

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