On my journey to a more healthy lifestyle, I have found that making just a few healthy changes in my life can lead my body and overall wellbeing down the path to feeling better than ever! I’ve been amazed and pleasantly surprised at how little effort it has taken. Our digestive system is an incredible way our body takes care of us – and when it is functioning in an optimal way, the benefits we gain can make us feel so good.
Here are just a few of those benefits you may realize when you support your digestive system:
- Enhanced elimination of toxins – Our bodies do an excellent job (when the digestive system is in working order) taking care of the many toxins and waste we build up inside of us. We get rid of by-products every time we urinate, expel a breath, blow our nose, release tears, sweat and have bowel movements. Our body targets these toxins and eliminates them.
- Weight loss – When toxins are eliminated efficiently and not trapped inside of us, our stools pass much of the waste out of our bodies, lightening our “load.” Eating enough fiber and drinking enough water assists this process.
- Regular, consistent and optimal bowel movements – You will realize regularity when your digestive system is functioning properly. This is defined as a bowel movement three times a day to three times a week, and one that is not too soft or hard. (Everyone has a different number of bowel movements, despite popular belief.)¹
- Heightened mental clarity – Healthy digestion combined with a highly nutritious diet is the essence of long-term vitality. Your diet affects every system in the body, but especially the brain. Research has found an abundance of neuropeptides (molecules that transmit brain signals) in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and have also shown that the beneficial bacteria in our GI tracts influence brain health, mood, and more.
- Increased energy and stamina – When you clean out the gunk in your gut, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest the foods you eat. Energy that would have gone into digestion can now be used to live life.
- Increased immune system and disease defenses – 70% of our immune system is contained in our digestive system! When all is running smoothly, our immune responses increase.
- Relief from mood disorders – 95% of the production of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) happens in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, often called our body’s “second brain.” The Mayo Clinic found that serotonin plays a key role in controlling depression.² Feelings of relaxation, optimism and an overall sense of wellbeing can be attributed to the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
- Improved absorption of nutrients – When you have a healthy digestive system, what you consume is properly digested, then the beneficial nutrients are immersed into the bloodstream via the small intestine. Nutrient absorption gets a boost when a healthy intestinal lining provides a large surface for absorption.
These are just a few of the many remarkable advantages you can achieve by taking steps to support your digestive system. Your overall health, wellbeing and happiness is depending on you!
¹National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, (NDDIC), NIH.
²Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, “Mayo Clinic Researchers Measure Serotonin Levels Using a Novel Device Called WINCS,” http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2011-rst/6165.html (accessed July 22, 2011).