Looking to fix digestion means you are like the frustrated millions seeking better health. So many people invest so much daily to get better health like eating better and being active. But better skin, better fitting clothes, better cholesterol, better sleep requires better digestion. No detox, cholesterol medication, or diet can achieve lasting results without better digestion as the body must be able to use nutrients given as well as eliminate waste properly for any better health result.
Today, there are a lot of likes being given for choosing cauliflower over carbs, drinking kale, and popping probiotics but not enough attention to fix digestion as the starting point for any better health goal. As a practitioner for over twenty years, I know that the most important first step any patient can take (and every practitioner should encourage) is to assess digestive health. If you are someone you work with has a health goal then it’s time to turn to digestion, to tune it up, so the body can use what it gets to run better.
Do you need to fix digestion?
Don’t guess. Assess. The body sends you signals all day long to alert you to the state of your digestion. Things not going the right way, things not moving along at all, things not smelling better? These are all signals that need attention. Attention does not mean an over the counter medication to stop those signals. Instead, understand that these signals are the body’s only way to alert you that your digestive system could benefit from a tune up. Medical note: all ongoing (“chronic”) and any severe (pain, blood, dramatic changes) symptoms should alert you to visit your doctor immediately.
“Gas, bloating, constipation, reflux, and loose stools are like the check engine light going on in your car alerting you that it is time to prioritize a check-up or risk your body not running better.”
Ashley Koff RD
How do you assess your digestion?
An effective digestive assessment reviews your current digestion as well as noting any changes that occur over the course of a few weeks or months. Questions to focus on to see if you need to fix digestion include noting how you feel on waking, after meals and at bedtime. Also consider hormonal shifts throughout the month and travel which can significantly impact digestive health.
When do you assess digestion?
If healthy and looking to stay that way, digestive assessment and tune-ups as indicated should occur on a quarterly or seasonal basis. Digestive assessments are also indicated any time you or a patient begin a new medication – oral or topical – or have a procedure including dental work, cosmetic, and even physical manipulation like seeing the chiropractor or working with a physical therapist. Assessments are the key first step before any efforts to fix digestion.
Should you take a probiotic?
Possibly. To fix digestion and keep it healthy, your body needs good bacteria to digest, absorb and eliminate properly. You can get them from foods and quality supplements. Be wary of a lot of probiotic fortified foods which don’t provide enough, alive, effective strains of good bacteria to maintain gut health. Also note that probiotics require food known as prebiotics to thrive. But even with probiotics and prebiotics, your digestion may not be better. There are numerous nutrients including specific amino acids and minerals that your digestive system needs to run better.
Motivated to help your clients assess and tune up your digestion?
Grab this tool and use it as an intake form for your patients. You will also want to have them keep a better nutrition journal before and after you meet to help you work with them to identify and address contributing factors.