Natural health: 'My family tells me I have bad breath'; My digestion has slowed down'

Natural health: 'My family tells me I have bad breath'; My digestion has slowed down'

My family tells me I have bad breath. I probably could drink more water but overall have a healthy diet and get my teeth checked regularly. My only indulgence is coffee in the morning. What would you suggest?

You may need to ask your family to be a little more specific as to the type of smell they are noticing.

If the smell is reminiscent of vomit or stomach acid, then you will need to address your digestive health (see my reply to the following question).

If it is more ‘rotten’ (like cat breath) then it is more likely to be gum health at the root of the problem.

While you are doing the right thing by having your teeth checked regularly, the more important focus when it comes to halitosis is gum health.

For this, you will need to find yourself a good dental hygienist.

Besides regular brushing and flossing, along with the optional extra of using interdental brushes and a tongue scraper to ensure that you are doing all you can in terms of oral hygiene, there may be gum pocket issues that go beyond what you can manage at home.

If you have any sinus issues, then this will mean that you tend to breathe through your mouth rather than your nostrils, which can be another contributing factor.

Odour-causing bacteria in the mouth multiply faster if the mouth is more dry than usual (this is why we get ‘morning breath’).

Halitosis can certainly be linked with hydration levels, so it is good that you are already aware of this as it is a simple change to make.

Coffee certainly impacts the breath if it has milk or sugar added, but is unlikely to cause lingering breath issues if you drink plain black coffee.

Natural health: 'My family tells me I have bad breath'; My digestion has slowed down'

My digestion seems to have slowed down ever since I hit 40. I often feel uncomfortable after eating, particularly when I eat red meat. What can I take to get it back on track?

Digestive enzymes are secreted along the digestive tract to efficiently break down foods, allowing nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream and the waste to be discarded.

It is important to note that digestive enzyme production decreases as we age, which can make a significant difference to how we process and digest our food.

Human digestive enzymes include ptyalin, pepsin, trypsin, lipase, protease and amylase.

Because our bodies don’t make cellulase, an enzyme necessary for proper digestion of fibre, it needs be introduced through raw fruit and vegetables in the diet.

Try to source plant-based digestive enzymes, since these are the most potent.

This is due to the fact that they contain the highest active units and can break down more fat, protein and carbohydrates in the broadest pH range than any other source.

Take your digestive enzymes with food if you are using them as a digestive aid, or between meals if you want to strengthen your digestive system in general.

As well as digestive enzymes, there is an Ayurvedic formulation which is used for digestive issues, and to help regulate and tone the bowel.

Triphala is a combination of three fruits: Amla, Haritaki, and Bibhitaki. Along with being an intestinal aid, it is also used to nourish, rejuvenate, and cleanse the cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, immune, reproductive, and nervous systems.

Herbal bitters are a great way to prevent a build-up of intestinal gas if this is an issue. Common bitter herbs for digestion include dandelion, gentian, and andrographis.

These botanicals work by stimulating digestion through the release of digestive juices from the pancreas, duodenum and liver.

This leads to food being digested more effectively, nutrients being more readily assimilated, and leaving less chance of undigested food sitting in the digestive tract to trigger gas and bloating.

Ginger is a wonderful digestive aid, and also helps with an upset stomach.

Simply brew up a cup of ginger tea by using a couple of slices of the fresh root, or using ½ - 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger in a cup of boiling water and infuse for 5-10 minutes.

Drink two to three cups a day for best results, and sweeten with raw honey if needed.

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