Leah Lewis

Leah Lewis

By now, most of us have had some kind of introduction to what a healthy lifestyle looks like — balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, reduced stress levels and avoiding substance use — for example. Today we’re going to touch on digestive health.

If we want a balanced understanding about a healthy lifestyle, we must have a true understanding of and appreciation for our gut – that is, the group of organs forming the passageway from the mouth to the anus, mainly comprising the stomach, small intestines and large intestines.

The gut sits at the core of our bodily systems and is the primary actor in maintaining harmony between our digestion, immunity, brain functions, weight, emotions and even our overall happiness.

When the health of our gut is out of whack, the balance of the entire body’s functions can be thrown off course, leading to obvious health troubles.

A common gut issue that affects at least one in five people is the unpleasant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Imagine having gas all day, every day, with a bloated, full feeling after you have every meal. Imagine going some days with rock-hard constipation, and other days with bouts of diarrhoea.

This is what persons suffering from IBS experience. This gastrointestinal disorder can last for decades in a person’s life if not remedied, and although it is not life-threatening, it can really put a damper on one’s ability to enjoy everyday life.

What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

Many studies have found an undeniable connection between food allergies, emotional stress, and the effects of certain medications on the lining of the gut and the natural balance of its “good” bacteria. We won’t go too deeply into the detailed functioning of the digestive system at the moment, but I want you to know that if you suffer with IBS, there are ways for you to get to the root of your problem and begin your journey towards freedom.

That being said, here are five ways for you to overcome irritable bowel syndrome. Note that this is not medical advice, and you should speak with your own doctor before trying any of these recommended tips, as everyone’s body behaves differently. Let’s begin:

1. Test yourself for

food allergies

Most times, IBS is caused by a heightened sensitivity to certain foods. One way to know what may be causing your symptoms is to eliminate the most common food allergens from your diet such as dairy, gluten (bread, pasta etc.), yeast, eggs, corn, red meat, caffeine, soy, and peanuts for between four-12 weeks. Then, reintroduce them one by one to see if they cause any symptoms.

This is an effective way to identify which foods may be causing you problems.

2. Learn to rat for

your blood type

This point rolls off of the previous one, but is definitely worth mentioning. The revolutionary work of Dr Peter D’Adamo, author of Eat Right for Your Type, has shown the remarkable connection between people’s blood groups and their reactions to food.

Did you know that a chemical reaction occurs between your blood and the foods that you eat? I would encourage you to do your own research into this area, but know that if you currently suffer from digestive problems, it is more than likely that you have some degree of sensitivity to the protein known as lecithin (present in all foods, but specifically reactive within certain blood groups, leading to heightened risks for certain diseases). Backed by years of solid research, Dr D’Adamo has discovered that certain blood type individuals fare better in health by avoiding certain foods.

According to him, here are some common foods to avoid for each blood type, that contain harmful lecithins:

Type O: Wheat, soybean oil, peanuts and kidney beans

Type A: Lima beans, tomato, eggplant and garbanzo beans (aka channa)

Type B: Chicken, corn, soy and lentil peas

Type AB: Chicken, corn, banana and fava beans.

3. Get rid of unwanted

bacteria.

Most food absorption occurs within the small intestines. Sometimes, when its lining becomes damaged due to stress or perhaps the excessive use of antibiotics or painkillers, there can be long-term bacterial overgrowth that affects your digestion and causes bloating and, you guessed it, IBS.

To overcome this, you can ask your doctor to recommend medication to remove this excess bacteria, as well as an anti-fungal medication, as there’s more than likely to be yeast overgrowth as well.

If you would like to try a natural alternative, you can look into the use of activated charcoal which has been proven to be quite effective in removing “bad” bacteria, fungi (including yeast) and their toxic by-products from the body.

4. Re-introduce

“good” bacteria

Probiotics such as yogurt, kombucha, apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) and supplements can help to re-populate the gut with the bacteria that it needs to properly digest foods and ease bloating and symptoms of IBS.

Supplements such as fish oil, evening primrose oil, zinc and vitamin A also provide soothing benefits that can help to heal the gut lining.

5. Reduce stress levels

The gut is closely connected to the mind. Often times, when your mind is unsettled, so is your gut health and over a long period of time, this can lead to digestive disorders, including IBS.

The symptoms of IBS are also exacerbated by bouts of stress.

Be sure to keep your stress levels at a minimum, through frequent physical exercise, meditation or prayer, periodic detachment from work or stressful situations or environments, journalling, or other clean stress-relief methods.

And there we have it. At the end of the day, nothing trumps having a conversation with your doctor about your health, but I hope that these tips can help you to begin your course toward a healthier, happier gut.

Best wishes on your journey to freedom from IBS

Leah Lewis (MPH) is a health consultant and founder of To’ren Healthcare Consultancy. She provides personal and group consultations with persons desiring to overcome their health challenges, using the power of lifestyle as medicine. To get in touch with her, send an email to llewis@torenhealth.ml or torenhc@gmail.com.

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If this topic captured your attention, then you must be all too familiar with the fiery discomfort in your stomach that rises to your chest after you’ve had a meal. You’ve tasted that sourness or bitterness at the back of your mouth, or have had that burning wave that hits your throat and turns your voice hoarse.

A quick lyrical perspective change and a couple recording sessions later and the Tobago-born singer added another Christmas classic to her seasonal collection.

“I am very excited about Christmas this year,” she continued.

“The season started early for me, I guess this is due in part to persons wanting to quickly recapture that joyful spirit and that loss of business. I have not fully let my guard down regarding protecting myself, but I am certainly anxious and grateful to finally perform before live audiences.”