Posted on Mar 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
Digestive problems may be caused because the body is having problems absorbing fat; symptoms of fat malabsorption may include but is not limited to excreting light coloured foul smelling stools, fatigue, bloating, weight gain/loss, being nauseated by fatty foods, and dry skin. However, these symptoms may also be indication of other nutrient deficiencies as some nutrients need fatty acids in order to be absorbed.
Malabsorption can occur due to various reasons which can include but is not limit to: liver congestion; poor quality bile; and lack of pancreatic enzymes. Keeping the gut healthy and happy is important to overall health, and there are things you can do to help your body absorb fat efficiently by keeping the gut healthy.
Gastric juices are composed of acids and enzymes that break down and absorb macronutrients, as well as help to improve blood flow through the digestive tract to enhance digestions and nutrient absorption, increasing intake of bitter foods will help to stimulate release of more gastric juices. Examples of bitter foods include chard, collards, chicory, beet greens, and dandelion.
The body needs hydrochloric acid to break down food in the stomach, absorb nutrients, help with the release of bile that breaks down fats, and fight off bad bacteria. Drinking a glass of water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added to it before a meal will help the body produce more hydrochloric acid. Foods such as lemon juice, black olives, spinach, kale, barely, and celery can also help to increase hydrochloric acid levels.
Without enough digestive enzymes food molecules will not be broken down properly which can result in problems such as lactose intolerance, making proteases, lipases, amylases and other digestive enzymes critical to ensure proper digestion. 1-2 digestive enzyme supplements before each meal can help to increase levels as well as foods rich in natural digestive enzymes such as papaya, mango, kiwi, avocado, pineapple, banana, ginger, honey, miso, and fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Medium chain fatty acids are easier for the body to absorb as they are transported directly into the bloodstream to be used by the liver for energy, and don’t need enzymes to be broken down. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of MCTs which can replace regular cooking oils. Highly processed canola oil and soybean oil can worsen liver congestion and should be avoided.
Fermented foods contain natural digestive enzymes, bacteria, and probiotics that aid digestion. Consuming fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements of at least one billion active cultures is one of the easiest ways to improve gut microbiome diversity.
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