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Are Digestive Problems Ruining Your Ramadan?

Gut Flora

Our gut harbors many “non-native” organisms that can be beneficial, benign or harmful.

The beneficial flora such as lactobacillus, which can be found in yogurt, help prevent opportunistic organisms, like yeast, from occupying the lining of the large intestine and causing an over growth, or pathogens from anchoring in the large intestine.

When this happens, these pathogens can compete with the host (you) for nutrients, causing a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

The metabolic wastes of these pathogens can also overwhelm the body’s detoxification system and cause a toxic buildup in the body that can cause health issues.

There are many available probiotic supplements that will help restore the beneficial bacteria. You can also eat fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and olives.

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However, you will first need to find a holistic practitioner to work with in order to remove the harmful bacteria.

Low Hydrochloric Acid

Low stomach acid allows pathogens to enter the digestive tract. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) sterilizes the contents of the stomach and eliminates any harmful substances prior to entering the rest of the digestive tract.

Many people that are diagnosed with acid reflux are surprisingly actually acid deficient, and often fall prey to chronic infections, like Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause peptic ulcers.

A quick home test to check if you have sufficient stomach acid is to drink a carbonated beverage and if within a minute you belch, you have enough stomach acid. You can also have a doctor check your levels of HCl.

Insufficient Digestive Enzymes

There are many types of enzymes in the body, but here we are concerned with the digestive enzymes that are made in the pancreas. These enzymes help us digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

Raw and fermented foods contain the greatest amount of enzymes. When food is overcooked, the enzymes are destroyed and the food becomes more challenging to digest.

In order for digestion to take place much energy is needed, when we supply the body with enzymes, it frees up the body’s energy to carry out other functions.

During Ramadan we are given a wonderful opportunity to allow the body to heal and carry out functions that it wasn’t able to carry out due to excessive eating and digestion.

Adding in a digestive enzyme (if you need to) will add to the physical benefits of fasting.


This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date.


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About Anisa Abeytia
Anisa Abeytia, B.A. USC , M.A., Stanford is an integrative health specialist currently pursuing a M.S. in Holistic Nutrition. Over the past ten years Anisa has pursued various fields of holistic and traditional medicine. She has studied at the oldest herbal school in the United States and pursued a two year certificate program in Islamic Healing. She writes regularly on the topics of health and nutrition. She maintains the website Women's Healing Circle, a site dedicated to the natural health of women and their families.