When our digestive systems are not working properly, our health suffers. In spite of this, we all too often take our digestive systems for granted. We expect it will handle anything we put through it but that is not always the case.

In a healthy digestive system, there is an optimal balance of bacteria and fungi. When they get out of balance, the digestive system doesn’t work the way it should. How this imbalance occurs is simple. We abuse it by eating an unhealthy diet full of processed foods high in sugars and low in fiber as well as being nutritionally poor in general.

How do we get our digestive systems working properly and keep them healthy? It starts with eating right. Instead of relying on processed food for the bulk of our diets, we should have fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish and dairy. Breads and pasta are fine but should contain as few additives as possible and be eaten in moderation.

This doesn’t mean being stuck with a bland diet. Far from it. Instead of all the artificial flavorings in processed foods, use natural herbs and spices for flavor. Not only do they do a better job of adding flavor, they are also good for your digestion.

Make liberal use of onions and garlic. Both are good for your entire body. Think black pepper is just for giving food a little kick? Might want to reconsider that. Black pepper (and white pepper) aid in digestion and have nutrients we all need. Pepper is just the beginning when it comes to seasonings being good for more than just flavoring. Nearly all herbs and spices have good benefits, including ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, parsley, rosemary, sage, and the list goes on.

When we have an infection, antibiotics are often prescribed. Though this helps get rid of the bacteria that cause infection, it also gets rid of the bacteria our digestive systems need for proper digestion. Without sufficient bacteria, the natural fungi in our digestive tracts overgrows. The result is an imbalance that causes us to have digestive and other problems. We can help turn the tables on this side effect of antibiotics by following a diet for a few weeks that is designed to starve the fungi to keep it from growing as much so the bacteria has time to recover. This diet involves eliminating fungi like yeast and mushrooms, sugar, products and byproducts of fermentation such as alcohol and vinegar, fruit juice and dried fruit. These foods feed the fungi in the digestive system so if they are absent, the fungi don’t grow well.

Certain dietary supplements can also be taken to help our digestive systems function properly. Among the best to take include activated charcoal, digestive enzymes that include lipase, amylase and bromelain, probiotics with at least ten different strains and green tea extract. These are all good supplements but no supplements should ever replace healthy eating habits.

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