Public Health England recently issued advice to Lancashire residents regarding an outbreak of E. coli. Some unlucky Lancastrians travelled to the Hurghada region of Egypt and returned with painful stomach cramps, diarrhoeal symptoms and fever. While you may be unlikely to catch the illness at home, it’s still important to keep an eye on your stomach and know how to protect it if you’re ever in a higher-risk area. Scientists are also beginning to place more weight on the relationship between the stomach and brain, so protecting the all-important entry point to your digestive system can even help your general mood and functioning!
Putting your Stomach First
Nutritionists place great weight on the importance of vegetables in your diet, and many people are aware of their benefits that come from the vitamins and antioxidants that they provide. What some people don’t know is that vegetables contain nutrients that your body converts into vitamin A, which in turn is an essential nutrient for generating the mucous membranes that line your stomach.
This layer of mucus is the first part of your body that needs to be restored, as it is what protects the rest of your body from your stomach acid (which should be strong enough to burn through your floor). The good news is that your mucus layer can be fully healed in just a few days. This protection also means you are less likely to suffer from gastrointestinal illnesses and is the principal foundation of a strong stomach.
Protein should also be eaten with every meal, as it supports the digestive system by giving the body essential amino acids that it needs to rebuild the entire gastrointestinal tract. Protein can be found in eggs, fish, dairy and beans, but meat specifically contains high amounts of protein, as well as zinc.
Nutrients you may not have prioritised
Zinc is crucial for the protein synthesis that your body undertakes when it is completing the rebuilding process. If you are vegetarian or suffering from any recurring stomach problems, try to boost your zinc level. Zinc is present in pumpkin seeds, but you may need to eat high quantities to feel any effects. Zinc-carnosine supplements have been widespread in Japan since 1994 where, according to healthmonthly.co.uk, they have been the focus of many encouraging studies.
Vitamin D is another unsung hero of the stomach – it can stabilise gastrointestinal movements and there seems to be some interaction between vitamin D deficiency and fat absorption of the stomach. The solution to this is easy: get some sunlight!
What to take-away
Lancashire has around 38% more fast-food outlets than the England average, and just 53% of Lancastrians eat enough fruit and vegetables. The greasy nature of takeaways can bombard your stomach with difficult-to-digest fat and cause several knock-on problems (like obesity). This can be a deadly combination if you’re not getting enough zinc protein or vitamin A from vegetables. Protecting your stomach can be as easy as making some small improvements to your lifestyle and diet so, if you’re feeling any stomach upsets or pains, try to watch what you eat.