The digestive system performs an important function: breaking down food into nutrients for absorption. Food is initially chewed, then swallowed and slowly broken down by digestive juices. Finally, the waste matter left behind is excreted. Commonly associated conditions with indigestion are irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).
Drinking alcohol or carbonated drinks, overeating in general, eating spicy or greasy food, consuming pain relievers and other medication are some of the leading causes behind indigestion. Anxiety can also trigger indigestion. Especially now in the U.S. with 1.29 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and about 3.2 million people deemed unemployed, people’s worries are at an all-time high.
When the brain perceives danger, the sympathetic nervous system responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response kicks in. While responding to danger, the body concentrates on keeping the blood flowing to the heart and muscles. Digestion is placed at the bottom of all survival needs. The food while your body is in a sympathetic activation zone may not be digested.
Digestive issues are also a symptom of COVID-19 infection. According to preliminary research, human intestinal organoids infected with the virus in an experiment showed that the virus gradually multiplied rapidly on the cells present in the inner and outer intestines. Scientists have yet to determine the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 strains being present in the intestine.
Until then, the following are some supplements that you can take to better your digestive health.
If your gut flora is imbalanced, it may interfere with the way nutrition is absorbed and you may need to take a supplement to get rid of some of the “bad” bacteria. Some of the probiotic strains that are known to help are L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, and B. bifidum. Ensure they are high colony forming units (CFU).
For various reasons, the body may not be able to make digestive enzymes. This happens to people who suffer from chronic health conditions and to people with an imbalanced diet with too much protein or fat. When this happens, taking a digestive enzyme supplements various enzymes to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Lipase, amylase, proteases and peptidases are some of the enzymes put into the mix of the supplement. Fruits and vegetables like pineapple, papaya, mango, and avocado are natural sources of these enzymes. Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut are also good sources of the enzyme.
Peppermint has the ability to settle the stomach and ease trouble with the digestive system. It is used as an herbal medicine worldwide and it is also the main ingredient of peppermint oil. The menthol component of peppermint restores normal digestive function by activating digestive juices and bile. Over-the-counter antacids have peppermint oil for this very reason.
Ginger contains phenolic compounds and carminative properties that relieve nausea, help in gaseous excretion and also boost the production of digestive enzymes.