Each year more than 62 million Americans are diagnosed with digestive orders, and the frequency and prevalence of these disorders tends to increase with age.

The most common digestive disorders include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, hiatal hernia, different types of cancers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease among others, with symptoms including bleeding, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, pain, nausea and vomiting.

Many treatments for these disorders include potentially harsh side effects.

Prescription drugs, surgeries, and other modalities are commonly recommended for those suffering from these and other digestive disorders, but there are natural ways to prevent them from occurring in the first place, and perhaps even reversing them after diagnosis.

Doctor of Naturopathy Reveals Her Six Tips for Digestive Health 

Dr. Janell Cole studied Nutritional Science at Brigham Young University and graduated from the University of Cal-Berkeley with a degree in Herbology.

She also became a licensed Colon Therapist and a Clinical Lymphatic Massage Therapist before receiving her Doctor of Naturopathy degree from The Herbal Healer Academy of Arkansas, before founding MOBU Herbals and Dr. Cole’s Herbal Remedies, an organic and wildcrafted boutique company selling creams, lotions and similar remedies.

Dr. Cole has worked with many patients on improving their digestive symptoms and reversing digestive disorders from the ground up.

The following are her top six tips for improving digestion naturally, without the need for drugs or surgical intervention:

1. Avoid Overeating- Oftentimes people with digestive disorders tend to eat more than necessary. While this can help to increase nutrient levels in the body over the long-term, overloading your body with food will take its toll in the form of an increase in the amount of time necessary for your body to digest it.

2. Don’t Eat Late at Night- “Your body needs time to digest your food,” Dr. Cole said. “Lying down with a full stomach can cause heartburn and digestion.”

Consider taking a short or even long walk shortly after consuming meals to improve digestion and to avoid stagnation in your digestive and lymphatic systems.

3. Eat Foods Your Ancestors Ate 500 Years Ago- Whole foods that are organic and pasture/regeneratively raised are recommended by Dr. Cole.

Her list includes:

4. Stay Fully Hydrated at All Times- It is commonly recommended to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water (64 ounces) each day.f

Water-rich foods such as cucumbers, romaine lettuce, celery, apples, bok choy, broccoli and other plant-based foods can help improve hydration when eaten consistently.

5. Practice Deep Breathing- Regardless of how you choose to do it, deep breathing is paramount for digestive health.

Deep breathing places the body in a parasympathetic state, which means it is mostly stress-free. This allows the digestive system to relax and better do its job.

Praying before a meal, meditating, practicing yoga, grounding yourself to the Earth while standing or walking barefoot and many other practices help with deep breathing.

Dr. Cole recommends inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, a practice that takes time to learn that helps in the long term. Her company also makes digestive balms, creams, and supplements from organic and wildcrafted ingredients like the one shown below.

Be sure to set aside quiet time to practice and to apply healing balms, herbs, tinctures and essential oils if possible; these simple and enjoyable habits will improve digestion over time.

6. Exercise Regularly- “Even moderate exercise can speed the time it takes for food to pass through your digestive tract,” Dr. Cole said.

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