Right now, we are facing many unknowns, many of us are concerned for lots of different and personal reasons. My personal sentiment today, if you are worried, then reach out and chat to someone, anyone. As I shopped yesterday morning I chatted to the people working there, other customers and I thought to myself, you know, it’s those small connections and sharing of concern that make will help us get through. If you connect with someone who’s not worried, they might just lift your mood and bring a smile to your face. Right now we are social distancing, but on the positive side we are never more able to stay connected. #gratefulfortechnology.
Now back to the food stuff.
Naturally I am reading all the advice over the past few weeks, and with health and nutrition being my gig, I was struggling to come up with what I wanted to add to the mix of information out there. I landed with this one.
We need to drink fluids as often as we can, a suggestion of up to every 15mins because any potential harmful molecules will be washed down to your tummy where the stomach acid you have will destroy it.
While I agree with the concept of drinking fluids for hydration, and that gastric acid is a very powerful substance and I found some literature that agree with this concept above, its not what I want to discuss or where I want you to focus. What I feel relevant to address in light of all this panic buying of toilet role is how low stomach acid impacts your digestive health and in turn your immunity? 💭
Symptoms of low gastric juices include
- chronic and persistent heartburn, acid reflux.
- constipation, diarrhoea or undigested food in your stool.
- belching and bloating
- sense of fullness after a small meal.
- brittle nails.
What do I want you to think about!!
It’s really your stomach acid I want to bring your mind to, not drinking water, as you will be doing anyways given the heavy advise out there. In essence we need stomach acid for proper digestion and we need proper digestion for optimal immune function. Low stomach acid prevents us from absorbing and assimilating the nutrients we ingest. Without sufficient nutrition, we are vulnerable to infection. Click here for a nice short ted talk that talks to the gut microbiome and firing up the bacteria for healthier digestion.
We also know that when you are stressed, either in your head or your body, then your ability to produce stomach acid is weakened. When this stomach acid is low, your ability to break down your food is less and you may experience digestive discomfort, gut bacteria imbalances and upper digestive discomforts. How our bodies and minds are functioning can inhibit the production of the stomach acid, a story for another day on this whole gut-brain axis. It stands to reason with all this confusion that we are all a little more anxious than normal, then taking measures to ensure our stomach acid is optimal is a good idea and healthy approach to minding yourself.
It’s refreshing to know there are some simple measures you can take at home to ensure your gastric juices flowing.
These are a few tips you can use to increase your stomach acid at home. And ones that you can share with your little ones too. Monkey see, monkey do…if they see us doing these things, they will be curious and then you can share with them that this helps your body work at its best. No need to overcomplicate it but also always a good idea to let them understand there is a very valid reason for WHAT and HOW you are encouraging them to eat.
- Chew you food well…Your tummy has no teeth, as the Chinese say. This is the best effort you can take to ensure good stomach acid, and it costs nothing but time.
- Limit processed foods…If you are stockpiling make sure you are getting plenty of frozen veg, fruit, herbs and meats into your freezer, lots of plant-based proteins. Don’t forget there is lots of grain options like rice, lentils (although a legume), rye, barley, spelt and oats. Sugar isn’t a good friend of our good bacteria in the gut.
- Eating fermented veg like sauerkraut or kimchi…They might seem foreign concepts to us Irish but they do great work for your gut and hence your immune system, even promote weight loss. You can add saurkraut to your cheese toastie or kimchi with your yummy fried egg! I reckon they will have some left on the shelves. Kids need to eat much less than us. So grab yourself a bottle of apple cider vinegar next time you are in the shops.
- Eating ginger… It can help given its anti-inflammatory properties. There isn’t much evidence about its role in stomach acid production but it know to help you with any throat niggles. And its even better when you add it to hot water, lemon and honey. When I can’t get fresh, I use frozen ginger or even powder. Not as tasty but sure needs must.
- Lifestyle choices like choosing to breath… I know this seems like a simple concept “stop and breath every 15 minutes”. It’s not as easy as it sounds, believe me I try this. HOWEVER your breath is the most effective way to calm your nervous system. And when your body doesn’t perceive an immediate threat then those stomach juices are in more favourable conditions for production. So right now, we need to breath more.
Here’s a little description of the 4 part breath that works for all ages…
PUT YOUR HAND ON YOUR TUMMY….
CLOSE YOUR EYES IF YOU CAN….
TAKE A GOOD DEEP BREATH PUSHING YOUR TUMMY OUT AGAINST YOUR HAND TO A COUNT OF 5…
THEN HOLD THAT BREATH AS YOU COUNT TO 5…
.SLOWLY RELEASE THAT BREATH TO A COUNT OF 5…
AND FINALLY HOLD AGAIN FOR 5….
So this my dear friends is one of the thoughts I have on supporting your body through the current times. If you or anyone you know would like to chat, please as always pick up the phone, give me a shout and we can talk how to manage yourself and your food habits over the coming weeks.
As always this information is not intended as a replacement for medical care, so if you have any symptoms you are worried about, follow it up through the appropriate channels.