Because integrative medicine takes a comprehensive look at wellness and disease, the practice is ideal to examine the complexities around digestive health challenges. Dr. Herscher says evaluating what you eat is a great place to start.
“What we eat has a profound impact on our digestive health. Not only do we need to eat an adequate number of nutrients, but food can be considered a signal and our body responds to signals, either to promote inflammation or be anti-inflammatory,” she notes.
“What we eat is probably our biggest influencer on our gut microbiome, which in turn impacts our digestive health and overall health.”
It’s not just food that can trip up your tummy. Other lifestyle factors also influence digestion, which is why integrative medicine’s 360-degree look can be helpful. The keys to better digestive health could lie with how physically active you are, your stress level, how you sleep, or toxins or other environmental exposures.
Integrative medicine practices like stress management, meditation, yoga, a plant-based diet and acupuncture all can improve digestive health for those with conditions like:
- Celiac sprue (celiac disease)
- Crohn’s disease
- Functional bowel disorders
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis