As the quality of the standard Canadian diet has continued to decline steadily, more individualsthan ever before are being diagnosed with digestive problems. Celiac disease, IBS, and Crohn’s disease are much more prevalent today and for some people, may lead to a life of chronic digestive problems and abdominal pain.
While it may be easy to criticize the “gluten free” movement as a fad, it is important to understand that these conditions are now quite common among adults and children today. There is even research to suggest that 1 in 20 people have some form of gluten reactivity, many just won’t show it.
The human digestive tract is essentially a long “tube” that starts at the mouth and ends at, well, the other end. It is the job of the digestive organs, such as the stomach, pancreas, liver, gall bladder and intestines, to extract and absorb nutrients from the foods that you eat. Digestive enzymes and fluids are secreted to aid in this process and when functioning normally, this system is very efficient.
However, if the digestive tract becomes irritated by sugars, gluten, processed foods etc., absorption of nutrients and movement of waste will slow down causing a variety of symptoms. All of these symptoms, whether its celiac, Crohn’s or IBS start with inflammation.
Constipation, diarrhea, pain, bloating and bleeding are all signs that something is inflamed within the digestive system. Some of these symptoms may require emergency care, which is why parents should never ignore “tummy aches” in children, especially if accompanied by a fever.
Fortunately, for many people suffering from these illnesses, there is new research that provides hope. Diets that focus on eliminating common foods that cause the inflammation, tend to produce the best results.
A wheat-free, grain-free, diet low in refined sugars and processed foods can give the digestive tract a chance to heal and repair, causing many of the symptoms associated with these digestive problems to resolve in a relatively short period of time.
For some people with chronic digestive problems, the solution may be as simple as introducing more water and natural fiber into the diet. Also, a diet rich in dense, plant-based fiber creates a “scrubbing” effect in the colon and has been shown to reduce inflammation in the small and large intestine.
Finally, you should consider a trip to your family chiropractor. Not only is he/she trained to provide you with nutritional counseling, we have found that chiropractic adjustments help normalize the nerves that control the digestive tract.
This was shown recently in a study of 57 Crohn’s Disease patients receiving chiropractic care. Proper nervous system function is always an important factor in nutrient absorption and colon motility and can make all the difference in world for individuals suffering with digestive problems.