bowels in balance

for calm bowels

Many people have problems with their bowels. One in eight people in the Netherlands are abdominal complaints patients. This can be from damage from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to colon cancer. And what does our gut actually say about our health? There is increasing clarity about the urgency of good intestinal and digestive health. Good news, because our digestive system does so much more than absorb and digest food. There are also endless nerve endings in our intestines. This also has a lot of influence with regard to mood, such as depression or burnout.

A lot can go wrong within our digestive system. This has to do with our lifestyle versus what we are genetically and evolutionarily built for. We probably all know it, bloating, a stitch here and a sound there. If this happens once in a while, it’s not that bad. But if you suffer from this on a weekly or even daily basis, it is important that you take it seriously. Many women whom often experience problems with their stomach or intestines,  don’t even know better. The diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is often made. While you, as a patient, still do not know where the complaints come from and what we can do about them. In this tool you will learn more about intestinal complaints, common problems and consequences.


Diet is one of the main causes of digestive complaints. Think for example of allergies and intolerances. It is often difficult to trace from which specific food product a complaint can come. Some have a direct physical effect on a certain product, others only after one or two days. To reduce this, you cannot consume a “suspicious” product for a long time (for about one week) or eliminate it from your diet. It is thus possible to find out whether this product is actually the culprit.

Nutrients can cause complaints if they have been consumed for too long or too much. Or if there is already an innate sensitivity to it. Below are products that relatively often cause complaints:

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • sugar
  • carbonic acid
  • processed foods
  • nightshade vegetables (white potatoes, bell pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, gooseberries, okra)
  • too much fiber (> 40 grams per day)
  • too little fiber (<25 grams per day)

Too little physical exercise

Movement ensures better blood circulation in the body. This also applies to your intestine. In this way he can perform his function better, such as the supply and absorption of nutrients. Movement also ensures faster intestinal peristalsis. In this way, bowel movements are promoted and the metabolism starts. Research also shows that exercise increases the good bacteria in the gut. Which in turn is conducive to a good absorption of nutrients and thus circulates sufficient, sustainable energy in the body.


Acute stress is not a problem for our body. We have devised a beautiful system for this : the fight-flight response. But what if the stress lasts too long? Then the body comes into a chronic stress response. This increases cortisol and has a major effect on the immune system. In a nutshell: during the first stress response, the intestines become increased permeable to adrenaline. This system is to ensure that our body can use all the energy to run or flee. But if the reaction lasts too long, the intestines remain permeable for too long. As a result, 1, toxic substances can enter our body and 2, the intestinal wall itself breaks resulting in intestinal complaints. The immune system becomes overactive both in the intestine and in the entire body. This physical stress results in intestinal complaints.

NB: bowel complaints themselves can also cause stress. The more stress about the intestinal complaints, about certain foods or eating at all, can cause the body to falter. Try to let go of your (possible) nutritional rules every now and then and give yourself a little more space if you are very perfectionist by nature.

Eat too fast

By chewing well (> 15 times per bite), you get less air in your stomach. It is also important to let your saliva do all its work in the mouth. Saliva already partially breaks down glucose (carbohydrates) in the mouth. In this way, your digestion starts where it should start, in your mouth. In this way, the rest of your digestion system has less work to do if you have already done this partly for him. This gives your intestines and stomach more rest. There is less air to push back down and less work because of the already digested substances that end up in your stomach.

Drinking while eating

If you drink a lot while eating, your saliva will also be washed away, so that the digestion is not complete. Incomplete digestion can cause intestinal complaints. Drink preferably nothing, half an hour before meals and half an hour after meals.

Frequency meals

Eating too often ensures that your digestive system is constantly in action. This gives your intestines little to no rest. Your body can also let the self-healing ability do its work if you do not eat for a while (from ± 13 hours). For example, you eat your evening meal at 6:00 PM and breakfast only again at 7:00 AM the next morning. Also, three meals a day are enough to get your calories. Do you find yourself needing an extra meal? Then choose something low in carbohydrates, higher in proteins with some fats. This ensures a less high blood sugar rise, so you are less likely to get a blood sugar drop. Also more saturated fat and proteins in the longer term. Think of a handful of nuts or some olives.


Antibiotics are a drug for tackling life-threatening infections. However, antibiotics not only destroy the virus, bacteria or infection, but also our gut flora. In the short term, this has a lot of effect with regard to intestinal health – and therefore intestinal complaints. However, this also has major consequences in the long term. Such as autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and asthma. What can you do about this? Only take antibiotics if this is necessary. If you take antibiotics, be aware of this and support your gut with probiotics. This significantly reduces the negative effect and the risk of autoimmune diseases to almost 60%.