At one of our Henpicked evenings, naturopath and colon hydrotherapist Linda Booth gave us all a fascinating insight into one of the most important aspects of our health – our gut.
I learned something new almost immediately, as I’d always thought gut was just a slang word for stomach. But Linda explained it actually refers to our intestines.
As a specialist in functioning bowel disorders – those which medics can’t find a specific cause for, such as IBS – Linda knows her stuff. In 24 years, she’s carried out 25,000 treatments for patients suffering from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
And with 15 million known IBS sufferers in the UK, there’s a good chance either you or someone you know has the condition. As Linda pointed out, this is just the number of people who have sought treatment – many others don’t, through embarrassment, and simply suffer in silence.
She explained that one of the biggest causes of IBS is a lack of ‘friendly’ live bacteria, but that it can also be brought on by stress. The symptoms are bloating, pain and irregular bowel movements for three months or more. You may have constipation and/or diarrhoea, wind, abdominal pain and cramps, too.
It’s an unpleasant condition to live with, and without the right treatment sufferers can find it has a negative impact on their lives. Some find they stop eating out for fear of having to rush to the loo, and it can often cause depression and anxiety.
Interestingly, Linda also explained that certain factors dating right back to birth can cause gut issues in later life. These include being born by caesarean section or being bottle fed, as both of these expose us to non-natural bacteria.
How to manage your IBS
The good news is that if you have IBS it can be managed through a combination of supplements and a few simple lifestyle adjustments.
- Chewing your food 20-30 times for each mouthful. It may sound like a lot but it’s important to break it down properly.
- Avoiding water with meals. This can slow down your digestion, so instead drink your water half an hour before or after you eat. You could have a small glass of red wine (hurrah!) as this does help with digestion.
- Taking proper care of how and when you eat. This means not rushing your food, eating too late or overeating.
- Eating only when you feel relaxed, as stress hormones can slow down your gastric juices.
- Going to the loo as soon as you need to. Don’t put it off!
- Only taking antibiotics or antacids when strictly necessary, as they can impact on your natural gut flora.
- Taking a multi-strain live bacteria food supplement containing lactobacillus acidophilus and lactobacillus rhamnosus, as this can help to make sure you have the right amount of ‘friendly’ live bacteria in your intestine.
She also suggested taking digestive enzymes and omega 3 supplements – although some sufferers also benefit from taking garlic, charcoal and fibre.
This can also help with digestive disorders, as many people find it relieves their symptoms. Warm water is gently introduced into the large intestine, removing toxins, mucous, gas and stored faecal matter. It’s a painless and completely safe procedure.
Linda’s insights were really useful in helping us to understand more about our delicate inner workings. Her suggestions and advice were all things we can easily adapt into our everyday lives – no radical diet overhauls necessary. She advocated a sensible and balanced approach using our common sense, eating and drinking healthily and enjoying our food.
And if you start to feel bloated, uncomfortable or experience any abdominal pain then listen to your gut… and seek professional advice.
Find out more…
Linda’s award-winning Just for Tummies range of supplements have been featured in Vogue and You magazines, and are available from her website Just for Tummies.