With increasing workload and more pressing issues for Malaysians to consider, your digestive system is probably the last thing you would want to think about. Of course – while you are busy keeping up with credit card bills and mortgages, it is unlikely that you would have spare time to think about the last time you went to the toilet to pass stool.
Even if you do recognise some problems with your digestive system, talking about it to your colleagues or family members is not usually the easiest thing to do. Nobody on the dinner table would be interested to know about your bowel movements.
However, caring for your digestive system is much more important than you think. This article looks to offer practical advices on how to keep your digestive system healthy and functioning properly, especially in Malaysia.
But first, why should you care for your digestive system?
Digestion is the process in which food is broken down so that it can be absorbed in the blood system. Therefore, maintaining a healthy digestive system is crucial for your body’s overall well-being. As Hippocrates once said: ‘all diseases begin in the gut.’
Neglecting the needs of your digestive system could result in undesirable consequences. Common digestion diseases include irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer and haemorrhoids. Furthermore, 80-90% of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer are already at their third or fourth stage of cancer.
So what are some practical advices to maintain a healthy gut in Malaysia?
Keeping a healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is difficult as a Malaysian. With the abundance of satays and goreng pisangs, it is no wonder that the obesity rate in Malaysia is the highest in Southeast Asia. Not only that, eating healthily in Malaysia seems to be a lot costlier. A bowl of salad in a restaurant could cost up to RM20, while a packets of nasi lemak can be easily found for less than RM5.
So how can you maintain a healthy digestive system in a country that makes it so difficult to do so?
You don’t necessarily have to give up on your curry laksas or ayam rendangs. Despite that, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should have it every single day. Perhaps having an unhealthy meal in three or four weeks may be sufficient to satisfy your cravings.
Looking for cheap local alternatives
Eating healthily doesn’t always have to be expensive i.e. entail expensive meals at organic restaurants, bowls of salads and stocking up on quinoa. There are also a lot of cheap local produce people often overlook when they decide to adopt a healthier diet. Examples include kangkungs, sweet potato, bok choi and brown rice.
Unlike many cities overseas such as in London where walking is a common form of commute, in a humid city like KL walking to work or school is almost unheard of. If we are not sitting at our desks at work, we are sitting on our sofas at home.
Staying physically active is crucial for keeping our the health of our digestive system. If exercising is nowhere to be found on your vocabulary of words, perhaps spending the evening outdoors for a walk would be good way to start. This website offers a list of best outdoor parks to walk or run in Kuala Lumpur. On the other hand, if you consider yourself to be rather physically fit, you could challenge yourself more by signing up for running events. This website offers a comprehensive calendar of the running events happening in Malaysia.
Drink a lot of water
Drinking enough water is absolutely necessary for a healthy gut. Rather than having sugary drinks with your meals, why not opt for a glass of water instead?
Always bring a bottle of water with you when you go to work or school. Also, if you have trouble remembering to drink water, set alarms on your phone to remind you. Daily Water is an app that you could try out to track your water consumption (works for Android and Apple Ios).
Every once in a while, going for a detox programme is a good idea just to cleanse your body from toxins. Cleansing your colon helps to improve digestion and prevent constipation. Read more about the benefits of colon cleansing here.
You could make detox meals for yourself at home as well. This site offers a series of interesting homemade detox recipes to try out!
For a more thorough detox programme, there are many centres in Malaysia that offer colon cleansing treatments. In KL itself, we have Shians Wellness Centre that offers the unique and effective coffee enema treatment to cleanse your gut. Read more about the coffee enema treatment here and whether it works here.
These tips are not at all exhaustive and they are not rules that you have to strictly abide by. Ultimately it is up to you to decide on what little steps you could start to take to improve the health of your digestive system!