May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month and a great time to renew our intentions of self-empowerment. The care we take of ourselves daily determines our long-term health and wellbeing.
The strength of our skeleton and that of our entire body is derived from the food we eat, digest and absorb. Enhancing digestion is a central component of my Better Bones, Better Body Program® and nearly everyone I see with a bone health concern, including myself, has a few signs of digestive weakness. So, I sat down with my good friend and colleague, Dr. Liz Lipski, to brainstorm on how to build great digestion. Dr. Lipski is a professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health, a renowned nutritionist who specializes in healing and supporting digestion, and the author of the popular book Digestive Wellness.
As you may be aware, our digestive tract not only allows us to transform food into flesh and bones, but it also serves as a “second brain” — really a “second nervous system.” And of course, the gut houses the trillions of bacteria that work synergistically with our own cells to create and maintain the health of our entire system.
In this video interview, Dr Lipski describes the importance of whole foods for building digestive strength and emphasizes that how we may be eating is as important as what we eat. Successful digestion is a parasympathetic process, a process of “rest and digest” that’s most successfully carried out when the nervous system is relaxed and the hormones of distress are absent. The factors that allow us to successfully absorb those nutrients are important, too, so we delve into options for improving nutrient assimilation as well.
Our discussion also covers enhancing our powerful microbiota through the use of probiotics and prebiotics. The benefits of a diverse and healthy microbiota become more evident daily, as we’ve learned in recent years that our bacterial companions produce at least 16 hormones and uncounted neurotransmitters to help us maintain a healthy system.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes and enjoy this interview — and that you use this opportunity to take a few new steps towards developing stronger digestion. Also, because many of you have asked about schools of nutrition, I will post a separate video with Dr. Lipski in which she discusses the many nutrition and holistic health programs offered by the Maryland University of Integrative Health.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.