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Digestive disorders: When the bowel goes on strike


The way to the heart is through the stomach - especially in the festive season. Many of us put on a few pounds during the festive season that can only be lost again by avoiding all cookies and with lots of exercise. However, the holiday gluttony can also bestow us with a few later, invisible consequences: bloating and digestive disorders. More than one hundred years ago, the doctor Franz Xaver Mayr said: “Chronic bowel disorders are the most common and most fateful ailment of modern man”. Is this true? Unfortunately yes – but only very few of us realise that.

Too much, too greasy, too sweet

Christmas is only once a year and you can overshoot the mark just this once is what people generally think. The problem is that many digestive systems simply don’t recover again. Because it is not only cookies, roast and punch that weaken our digestive system. Our normal everyday diet already contains enough consumption traps that can weaken us or even make us ill. Key word “acid-base balance”. For some this is almost a confession of faith, for others it is an emotive word. The fact is: An unbalanced and low-fibre diet paired with a lack of exercise is a combination that sours us and slows down the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. 

What a cramp: Probiotics against stomach cramps?

Probiotics are often considered to be multitalents: They are said to improve the natural defences, protect from colds and support the digestion. And lactobacilli and co are indeed good for the gut. What most people don’t know, however, is that many digestive disorders are caused by electrolyte deficits. Salts, i.e. minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, play a very important role in the muscle activities of the bowel (so-called “peristalsis”) - and they are not contained in probiotics. If they are deficient in the body, the bowel muscles don’t have the oil and fuel necessary for their rhythmic movement. The consequences are lame bowel muscles that do not react to impulses - the digestive muscles become sluggish. Mineral deficits make muscles sluggish. Thereby it makes no difference whether these are the leg muscles or the bowel muscles. We perceive both problems as tensions.

Three pillars for a good acid-base balance

Wholegrain staple foods, exercise and plant minerals have three pleasant side effects: Wholegrain regulates the acid-base balance, exercise makes us slim and natural minerals activate the bowel.

Convenience foods (“fast food”) are almost always empty, stupid calorie bombs. When we eat these industrial products we force the body to raid its own mineral reserves (especially from the bone deposits). We are consuming “base robbers” without knowing it. The healthy alternative: Staple foods that are rich in vital substances.

Daily exercise in the fresh air would be ideal, but it should be at least 2-3 times per week. Thereby it is particularly important to make sure that the circulation is stimulated by the physical activity. Why? Because regular stimulation of the pulse rate leads to a better supply of blood to the bowel muscles. This blood supply - in addition to the swelling pressure of the food bolus - is the second most important stimulus for bowel peristalsis.

A diet that is low in magnesium and potassium is much more widespread than we think. Why is this so? Because many electrolytes are simply lost as a result of technological refinement processes. Ready-made mashed potatoes contain only 10% of the mineral concentration of potatoes, for example. Here, too: Fruit instead of fruit juice, boiled potatoes instead of French fries.

The gastrointestinal tract is modest

You do not need to study medicine to get your digestive problems under control. Simply remember Granny’s wisdoms more often: Keep moving and reach for the vegetable and fruit shelves.

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