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With the new year underway, many people amplify health goals with the intent to change their lives for the better. These people do not know that health changes like sticking to an exercise routine, trying to steer clear of processed foods, and including more fruits and vegetables in their diet all impact one fundamental body process – digestion.
Digestion is not widely talked about, but it should be. It influences every level of our overall health, from immunity to mental clarity. A lack of discussion regarding the impact of busy lifestyles on digestion can mean people’s digestive health suffers immensely. In 2021, Herbalife Nutrition is committed to helping people worldwide understand their digestive process and make an effort to change it for the better through education and product offerings. By educating people on the impacts of digestion and food quality ingredients, they hope to fundamentally change the way people think about what they eat.
What is Digestion and Why Is It So Important?
Digestion is a normal process that every person experiences. So, why is it never discussed?
Most people understand digestion as the breakdown of ingested food. When food breaks down within the stomach, it supplies vitamins, minerals, and fats to the body, integral to keeping the body healthy. Digestion also filters all the unwanted materials from the body out of it. Things like harmful bacteria, excess vitamins and minerals, salts, extra water, and unprocessed bits of fiber leave the body after digestion. By doing this, the digestive system keeps your body running healthily – it is key to the immune system, your body’s response to foreign, harmful, invading cells and viruses.
Doctors tell their patients regularly that eating right and exercising is key to keeping the body healthy. When the body is getting proper nutrients, it has the energy and cellular health to fight off infection. The nutrient supply also keeps the brain functioning normally, including lowering stress levels and staying sharp. A nutritious diet filled with fiber also nourishes the body during exercise, which helps with stress reduction, mental clarity, and more. Without digestion, none of the healthy actions we are told to keep up with can happen.
Finding the time to create regular meals that aid in proper digestion can be hard in a busy schedule. That is why so many people today take dietary supplements, like multivitamins and probiotics. However, there are other ways to include fiber in diets. Dietary additions in the forms of powders and drinks are also helpful and easy to incorporate into your diet. They are a solution that Herbalife Nutrition has been readily exploring with offerings like Herbal Aloe and Active Fiber Complex.
Fiber For Digestion
One key to healthy digestion? Fiber.
People are supposed to ingest about 30 grams of fiber every day. Especially in industrialized countries, this need is not being met by a significant portion of the population. We find fiber in plants alone. We cannot find it in meat, eggs, or animal-derived foods – and certainly not in fatty processed foods. Because we get most of our fiber from vegetables, people living in industrialized countries far too often go without the daily 30 grams of necessary fiber. This can lead to many problems, the least of which being constipation from lack of “roughage.”
Additionally, not all fiber is the same. People need to ingest two different forms of fiber for a well-rounded diet and good digestion – soluble and insoluble fiber.
The fiber most of us understand well is insoluble fiber. When doctors tell their patients they need more fiber in their diets because of their bowel movements (or lack thereof), this is typically what doctors refer to. Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables and whole grains and is often referred to as roughage. This is plant matter the body cannot break down and instead passes through the human waste system. While it does not dissolve in water or break down in the body, it can retain water, which helps ease waste through the digestive system in a usual manner. Without this type of fiber, waste stays in the system longer, both uncomfortable and bad for overall health.
On the other hand, soluble fiber is the type of fiber that creates a full feeling in the stomach after ingested. This type of fiber does break down in the water and expands within the stomach to create the feeling of fullness. Because of the way it interacts in the stomach, it can slow blood sugar absorption and maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. Therefore, it is an essential factor in the prevention of diseases such as Type II Diabetes. We find this fiber type in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods such as citrus fruits, barley, apples, oranges, oats, and beans. As well as keeping you full, they also encourage good bacteria growth within the stomach and intestines – something which is crucial to the proper breakdown of food.
For busy people, another way to include soluble and insoluble fiber into diets is through nutritional supplements like Herbalife’s Active Fiber Complex. Supplements allow people to add fiber conveniently into their meals, promoting good digestive health.
What Are Probiotics And How Do They Impact Digestion?
Good bacteria growth might sound alarming, especially from a healthy mindset, but not all bacteria are harmful. The good bacteria found within the body, especially in the digestive tract, are referred to as probiotics. The bacteria throughout the digestive system, specifically, is known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria are part of a symbiotic relationship with the human body. They get a comfortable place to live (your gut) with free sustenance (your ingested food). In return, they provide you with beneficial processes.
The gut microbiome is, first and foremost, a defender. It is the first line of defense against harmful ingredients ingested through food. Anyone who has experienced a nasty stomach bug or bout of food poisoning has likely been told by their doctor to take a round of probiotic pills afterward to replenish their gut microbiome. Additionally, a good gut microbiome will help digest other foods resistant to the body’s natural digestive functions. As if this were not enough, a healthy microbiome will also produce vitamins that might lack a person’s regular diet.
In 2017, researchers determined that diet was not the only factor behind creating a healthy gut microbiome. When combined with a proper diet, exercise also increases the health of the gut. Concerning the gut, exercise speeds up the time in which excrement moves from the bowels, which reduced the risk of colon cancer, IBD, and more. As if that were not good enough news, exercise was also shown to increase gut flora diversity.
The average person can (and should) enhance their gut microflora by regularly ingesting probiotics and maintaining a healthy exercise routine. You can do this either by ingesting probiotic capsules or introducing more fermented foods into your diet. For instance, Herbalife’s Simply Probiotic capsules contain GanadenBC, a strain of healthy bacteria that is strong enough to live through the stomach’s harsh acid to get to the intestinal tract to help break down food more efficiently. It is important to note that not every supplement available online contains probiotic strains strong enough to reach the intestines.
Prebiotic vs. Probiotic: What Is The Difference?
Another word that often gets thrown around is prebiotics, especially when speaking about prebiotic food. Prebiotics are distinctly different from probiotic food sources. Prebiotics are nutrients found in high-fiber foods like onions and garlic, artichokes, tomatoes, apples, soybeans, whole-wheat, and nuts, which directly nourish your gut flora rather than supplying gut bacteria to your body. Bananas are one great source of prebiotics, which is another reason doctors encourage people who have recently suffered a stomach illness to eat plenty of bananas. When gut flora is happy and nourished, they can better do the hard job of fermenting fiber sources for you.
Healthy people need to ingest both probiotics and prebiotics, as they both aid in the breakdown of fiber. If you are eating a healthy diet that includes oats, apples, berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, whole grains, beans, barley, and nuts, you will need pro-and prebiotics to gain the nutrients from these foods. This is why it is not enough to eat only some healthy food. A diet should be diverse to balance out gut flora and healthy digestion.
One increasingly popular way to hydrate, ingest fiber, and encourage healthy gut bacteria’s growth is with aloe drinks. Available in extracts, juices, concentrates, and as whole leaves, aloe is quickly becoming a delicious and refreshing way to ingest fluid and promote digestive health.
Why is Herbalife Interested in Aloe?
Herbalife Nutrition was founded to improve the health and wellness of people worldwide. At first, the company focused its ambitions on mostly dietary health and weight management, but eventually, the company re-focused its goals, understanding that health includes all parts of the body. Aloe Vera is versatile, with the ability to treat wounds, skin issues, and digestive issues alike. Therefore, along with its other digestive health offerings, Herbalife is particularly interested in the Aloe Vera plant’s holistic implications.
In the past, people have attempted to ingest aloe vera without allowing it to go through the purification process that rids itself of Aloins (the aloe sap components that provide laxative effects). Additionally, the popularity of succulents as household plants has made it easier for anyone to access aloe plants – but not all aloes are Aloe Vera, and some may not be suitable for human consumption. Herbalife Nutrition is one of many nutritional supplement providers interested in providing Aloe Vera’s benefits without unwanted and potentially dangerous side-effects.
Herbalife Nutrition works with dedicated Aloe Vera farmers in Mexico who have been growing and dispersing the plant for decades. Their knowledge of proper growing conditions, soil composition, and plant care raise these plants’ quality beyond run-of-the-mill drugstore Aloe Vera offerings. After harvesting the plants’ leaves, they are washed, sanitized, and put through juice production.
During the production phase, processors filter the juice to remove the plant’s aloins and laxative components, leaving only the beneficial parts of the juice behind. After filtration, the aloe juice is adjusted and further filtered to remove minerals, soil, and other unwanted side-effects of the farming industry. The juice is then pasteurized, made into a concentrate, and shipped to suppliers like Herbalife Nutrition. This process saves aloe drinkers time and the potential side-effects of ingesting raw aloe. Sometimes, the line between safe food consumption and potentially dangerous ingredients is not clear. Rather than harming gut flora and digestive processes with a potentially stomach-upsetting ingredient, look for aloe vera supplements from companies with a history of safe and transparent food processing practices.
Herbalife’s interest in aloe is noted, especially by gut health activists. But Herbalife Nutrition puts the same care into all their products because they realize that the way our food is grown and processed has a direct impact on how our body processes it.
Why Is Herbalife So Interested in Digestive Health?
Herbalife has been in the nutrition supplements business since 1980. For over 40 years, they have sought to raise healthy living standards worldwide – prolonging and enhancing lives through sound nutritional practices. Their goals are simple: they source the purest natural ingredients, follow global and national quality and distribution standards, and help millions of people worldwide enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle every day.
Herbalife Nutrition’s interest in digestion is also simple. The company is concerned with holistic health, meaning the greater good of all parts of the body. The company started with the idea that what we eat influences the quality of our lives, and recent studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between gut health, mental health, and physical health.
Herbalife’s digestive nutritional supplements line includes Simply Probiotic, Herbal Aloe, Active Fiber Complex, and two separate programs designed to support improved gut health, the digestive process, and the overall well-being of the human body. If you’ve decided this year is the year you’re going to change your health and exercise practices, looking within (especially at your gut health) and ingesting quality ingredients that will benefit your body is a great place to start.