By Sylva Sheridan, CNP
The natural healing force within us is the greatest force in getting well. Over two thousand years ago, Hippocrates, also known as the ‘Father of Western Medicine,’ laid the foundation for modern medical science by placing importance on nutrition as the forefront for addressing the root cause for disease and chronic conditions. The therapeutic application of whole foods is an art. It is power. It is knowledge.
Research from noted medical and naturopathic doctors such as Joel Fuhrman, Mark Hyman, Josh Axe, and natural health expert Lorna Vanderhaghe is being released to ensure that the most current information is being transmitted to the public. The Western World, deprived of Omega-3 fatty acids and a diet high in refined carbohydrates, has growing evidence of rising health concerns.
Dr. Michael Murray, ND, co-author of The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods and The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, has designed:
Seven key principles of the optimal health diet:
• Eat a rainbow assortment of fruits and vegetables
• Reduce your exposure to pesticides
• Eat to regulate your blood sugar,
• Do not overconsume meat and other animal foods
• Eat the right types of fats
• Keep your salt intake low and your potassium intake high
• Drink significant amounts of water each day
The previous seven points each point towards a shifting paradigm to natural nutrition. Understanding how nutrient-dense foods can promote a healthy immune system, support the digestive system, and increase neurological function is at the core of holistic nutrition.
Holistic nutrition works to turn the clock forward, with a mindset based on prevention. Holistic nutrition takes a nutraceutical approach when it comes to preventing digestive concerns through an increased consumption of lemon juice in water, with apple cider vinegar, through avoiding red meat and dairy, through probiotics and through proper food combining.
Digestive disorders are common issues that not only cause discomfort, but can lead to a multitude of health concerns. Symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and nausea may be displayed in your gut yet their effects are systemic and can affect the whole body. For example, irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder of digestion that is the result of interplay of digestive secretions, bacterial flora and dietary factors .
In order for change to occur, holistic nutrition takes an approach known as the 4Rs: Remove (poor food, allergens, and pathogens), Replace (balancing the pH of the stomach through hydrochloric acid, bile, digestive enzymes, fibre, and water), Reinoculate (the introduction of nutritional and supplemental probiotics to recolonize the intestinal lining), and finally Repair (the introduction of specific supplements that are used based on biochemical individuality .
When looking at the stages of a digestive healing protocol, reinoculation stands apart. Recolonizing the intestinal lining is an integral part as part of digestive healing. The 100 trillion microorganisms that are commonly present in and on our bodies comprise our normal floral or microbiota. Normal flora do not harm us and in some cases help us by preventing overgrowth of harmful microorganisms and by producing vitamins .
Nutritionally, there are numerous foods that can support a healthy gut. For example, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha contain probiotics and other bacterial cultures to recolonize the intestinal lining. Raw cultured dairy such as kefir also contain natural probiotics to promote a healthy gut lining. Spices such as turmeric contain both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compounds. In addition sprouted hemp and chia seeds contain protein to help repair the digesting tract.
This is a snapshot of various elements relating to digestive healing. We live in challenging, stressful, but exciting times. Taking control of your health is empowering. It is exhilarating. Knowledge is power.
Sylva Sheridan, CNP, is a graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN) and the Administrative Coordinator, Program Advisor, & Student Clinic Coordinator of the IHN Ottawa Campus. email@example.com