What is the Holistic Treatment?
Fish Oil for Your Health
You’ve probably heard that a diet rich in oily fish like sardines, mackerel and tuna can help protect you against blood clots that cause heart attacks. Now it appears that the same omega-3 fatty acids in fish that protect against blood clotting also seem to be effective against a host of other health problems, including depression and inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Good sources include flax seed oil (1 tablespoon a day taken straight from the spoon or mixed into salad dressing or cereal) and fish oil (take 2 teaspoons to provide 2g omega-3 fatty acids a day).
Boost beneficial bacteria
Boost the population of beneficial bacteria in your gut. You can do this by taking an over-the-counter supplement known as a probiotics. In healthy people, the colon is home to ‘good’ bacteria that prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria. But when these bacteria are killed off – often, by antibiotics – the resulting overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria and yeast can cause inflammation. Probiotics help maintain an optimal balance. Take 2 capsules three times a day on an empty stomach or, if you don’t want to take a supplement, eat two or three pots of sugar free bio-yoghurt a day.
Fuel your body with care
Favour bland foods – cooked carrots, white rice and stewed apple, for example. If you’re already suffering from diarrhoea and abdominal pain, eating lots of spicy foods will only make matters worse.
Cut back on dietary fat. Fried foods, fatty meats and other sources of fat can trigger contractions in your intestine, which may exacerbate diarrhoea.
Eat less dietary fibre during flare ups. Ordinarily, high fibre foods like bran, whole grains and broccoli are good for the digestive system. But during inflammatory flare-ups they increase the risk of painful gas. Once you feel better, resume a normal fibre intake.
Many people with Crohn’s disease are unable to digest lactose, a form of sugar found in dairy foods. If you feel gassy and bloated, try avoiding milk and all other diary foods for a few days. If your symptoms go away, you may have lactose intolerance. Switch to lactose-free dairy products, take pills containing lactase (the enzyme used to digest milk) or avoid milk products altogether.
Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement. This will help to restore the nutrients that can be depleted by persistent diarrhoea.
Record what you eat
Keep a food diary. Record everything you eat throughout the day (avoiding snacks), what reactions you have and the severity of your discomfort. At the end of a month review your diary to get a sense of how well you tolerate dietary fibre and potentially troublesome foods, such as dairy products. You’ll also find out whether you need to avoid any particular foods altogether.
Lessen stress to digest best
Stress can trigger symptoms. So every day, practise yoga, meditation, deep breathing, visualisation or any other relaxation technique. For example, you might sit in a quiet spot for 20 minutes or so and visualise a healing blue light slowly pouring down the length of your digestive tract, soothing the inflammation. Imagine that as this blue light travels through you, it leaves healthy tissue behind.
A folk remedy was to drink cabbage juice for intestinal inflammation, as it is rich in the amino acid L-glutamine. But if that doesn’t sound particularly appetising, you can simply take L-glutamine pills (500mg a day). L-glutamine helps to heal ulcers in the gut.
Because it combats inflammation, a liquorice extract called DGL (deglycyrrhizinated liquorice) may help to ease symptoms. Chew two wafers (380mg) three times a day between meals whenever you have a flare-up. Don’t try to substitute liquorice confectionary; most liquorice sweets contain no real liquorice. And unlike DGL, ‘real liquorice can raise your blood pressure.
Time for tea
Both peppermint and camomile contain antispasmodic compounds that help curb cramps and ease pain caused by abdominal wind. To make a tea, put a teaspoon of either dried herb into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. If you’re susceptible to heartburn, choose chamomile over peppermint.
Marshmallow tea also soothes by coating the mucous membranes in the digestive tract. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of hot water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes, strain and drink.