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There are basic digestive issues that respond well to what is colloquially referred to as 'kitchen medicine.' This basically means you can find delicious and nutritious ways to treat bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and more by making a trip into your own kitchen.

To start, pull out a bottle of unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar and mix a tablespoon with a glass of warm water. There is evidence that apple cider vinegar helps regulate blood sugar levels and may contribute to weight loss when combined with a low-calorie diet.

According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the sour taste delights the liver and helps it function at its best. The liver is responsible for removing harmful substances from the bloodstream, producing bile and is an important part of many metabolic processes. An overworked liver may provoke bouts of diarrhea, heartburn, bloating, gas, and many uncomfortable problems related to digestion.

The important thing to remember is to drink this sour concoction on an empty stomach. Drinking it before a meal can interfere with digestion and a glass too close to bedtime can irritate the esophagus.

Also, try fermented foods like tempeh, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt, which are rich in nutrition and come in a variety of tastes and forms. Eating these helps your body metabolize food as the fermentation process involves the breakdown of food by yeast, bacteria or other microorganisms. This way nutrients are extracted and absorbed more easily.

Pickle fibrous vegetables such as cauliflower, onions, cucumber, or cabbage at home. The ultimate product is chock full of probiotics, microorganisms that provide health benefits for the digestive system and enhance immunity.

Simply add salt to water to make a brine and add the veggies. For extra flavor, mix in a small quantity of apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, or a Bay leaf. Make sure the jar you use is sterilized. Burp the jar every day by opening it up to let out excess gas produced during the fermentation process. Wait 2 or 3 days, and soon you'll have tasty condiments that support your intestinal flora.

If you're experiencing constipation, an apple a day doesn't just keep the doctor away, it helps unblock stagnation in the large intestine. Pectin, the fiber naturally occurring in apples, adds bulk to the stool in an effort to keep things moving.

The more efficient, regular, and complete a bowel movement is, the less chance there is for infection and inflammation to occur in the intestines. Eating an apple on an empty stomach is an excellent way to handle a bout of constipation and ensure regular evacuations.

For children over the age of 1, a tablespoon of honey is a delicate, yet effective way to promote bowel movements. Honey lubricates the intestines and helps dissolve stagnation in the intestines. It is important to make sure what you use is 100 percent honey and does not contain syrup.

The humble mint leaf is a versatile herb that has a cooling nature. Fresh mint leaves can be made into a tea to ease digestive symptoms such as pain, bloating, gas, borborygmus, acid reflux, and bad breath.

If you've eaten a spicy meal or one that was just a little too oily, you can stave off any potential digestive problems by enjoying a cup of warm mint tea after your meal. On hot summer days, try sipping mint tea in the shade to get your body to cool down. In colder months, you can add a little bit of fresh ginger, which is warming in nature.

Ginger balances out the coolness of the mint, and this combination provides a double whammy of nutritional benefits for your stomach. Both these herbs are renowned for their ability to combat nausea and aid in digestion. They are gentle enough that many pregnant women can safely consume them.

The next time you experience minor digestive troubles try using some 'kitchen medicine'.

To discover more about which foods are right for you, contact a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Bilodeau, K. (2018). Fermented Foods for Better Gut Health. Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved from

Pectin: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosing. WebMD. Retrieved from

About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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