Spotlight on Digestive Health

| December 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

digestive healthBy Kurt and Rene Nall – Our digestive system may be key to physical health, but also to mental and emotional health. For example, up to 95% of the hormone serotonin is produced in our gut along with many chemicals which affect our brain. It is now accepted that our immune system is also dependent on our digestive system and supporting systems. These systems are important for absorption of nutrition, but also for elimination of waste and toxins. Most of us know to eat healthier, but what does that mean?

The cornerstones of digestive system health are enzymes, fiber, water, and healthy bacteria (probiotics). Sometimes we can benefit from supplementation, but the best sources are what we call raw foods – fresh fruits and vegetables, cultured foods, and germinated nuts, seeds and grains.

Raw foods contain natural enzymes which aid in digestion. Cooking foods destroys enzymes so we need to balance our diet by eating more raw foods, with an optimal long-term goal of eating 75-80% raw. Supplementing with enzymes when eating cooked foods can be helpful for most people, especially as we age and our own enzyme production slows.

When humans lived off the land, we may have consumed 100 grams of fiber daily, and now the RDA is 35 grams. This fiber typically came with the natural water content of fruits and vegetables, but we also drank more water. A typical fast food meal may contain no appreciable fiber in the meat, cheese, or processed foods and then we wash it down with sugar, caffeine and chemicals! Fiber is essential to provide bulk that keeps our digestive system moving, and to absorb and “sweep out” waste and toxins. Water is critical to keep the fiber from binding and to flush our systems. Raw foods are naturally high in fiber. Good natural fiber supplements should be taken with plenty of water, and can be especially helpful as we “clean house” and restore our digestive systems.

Even corporate yogurt companies have national ad campaigns touting the health benefits of good bacteria. Most people have experienced digestive problems with antibiotics, and may have even supplemented with probiotics. Alternative health practitioners have long held that Candida and other issues may be symptoms of systemic bacterial imbalances. The natural sources of probiotics are cultured foods like raw sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, and miso. When repairing an out of balance system, probiotic supplements may be absolutely necessary.

Life Reset Button: Have you considered improving your digestive health? Already done so? What is your motivation? We look forward to seeing your comments on this article below.

Kurt and Rene Nall own Appleseed Health
Foods, a community resource for wellness education including the Guided Juice Fast, Raw Foods classes, the Culture(d) Club, and other events. Appleseed has been family-owned and operated in Rockledge, Florida since 1992. Visit the online store at

Salad Plate Photo Credit: ccharmon via photopin cc, Veggies In Store Photo Credit: USDAgov via photopin cc

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Category: health, nutrition

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