As an ND, I spend lots of time chatting about poo. It’s been my experience that if the digestive system isn’t working right, nothing is. This is especially true when it comes to detoxification.
As we’ve already discussed, the liver is responsible for making toxins water or fat soluble and putting them into circulation to be eliminated through the kidneys or through the bowel.
When the bowels are moving well, toxins spend very little time hanging out and get eliminated efficiently. Constipation results in recirculation of these toxins and puts extra stress on the detoxification pathways.
Keeping the gut healthy is about more than just regular bowel movements. A well-functioning gastrointestinal tract also requires well-balanced gut microbiome. Having enough friendly bacteria is key in keeping harmful microorganisms in check. These helpful bacteria also aid in digestion and nutrient absorption and play an important role in immune health.
Good bacteria themselves play a role in detoxification. Some have the ability to bind to toxins in food and water before they have a chance of getting into circulation!
A few tips to ensure your digestive tract, and the bacteria that live in it, stay happy and healthy:
- Stay hydrated! Aim for 1.5-2L per day. Read more on the importance of hydration for detoxification in the article Daily Detox Tip #1.
- Eat a diet rich in fibre. This includes veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. There is no upper limit for fibre intake and the average recommendation for adults is 30g per day, although most people benefit from consuming closer to 45g per day. Here is a list of high fibre foods. Track your intake for 3-4 days and add more fibre rich foods as needed.
- Get cultured! Support a balanced gut flora by consuming fermented foods daily. Common examples of fermented or cultured foods include sauerkraut, miso (soybean paste), Kombucha tea, natural yogurt, aged cheeses, and kefir. For more information, check out the article on Fitting In Fermented Foods.
- Tummy Rubs. A gentle but effective way to show your digestive system some love is with a tummy rub. Combine a few drops of your favourite essential oil (peppermint or lavender are good examples) in a small amount of carrier oil (castor oil is messy but effective). With medium pressure, massage around the belly button in a clockwise direction. This technique helps increase circulation and promote healthy bowel movements. Repeat daily for best results. This is great to do for maintenance and also when constipation or bloating are concerns.
- Identify Food Sensitivities. A major contributor to digestive distress, food sensitivities can be difficult to identify. Elimination diets and specialized testing can help put a finger on the culprits. Avoid these foods leads to a reduction in inflammation and overall improvement in bowel health.
These suggestions are great on a regular basis to support your detoxification processes and promote optimal health. Occasionally your system may need more assistance. I frequently recommend colonics, enemas, rectal ozone therapy, and supplements as ways to get the digestive system back on track. For more information about the many naturopathic options, get in touch!