My gastrointestinal system has not been the healthiest since 2009 when I went through a bout of depression and stopped eating for about a year, was incarcerated for about 26 months as well and never get a proper appetite back. My present diet does not consist of a healthy balance of the major food groups. What suggestions can you offer to help get me back into a more healthy diet and system?
I think the most important thing is to focus on helping improve your digestive system recover from the period of stress you experienced. Digestive symptoms are not uncommon in people undergoing stressful times. Introducing some beneficial foods to your diet would be my first recommendation. Probiotic live yoghurt will introduce beneficial bacteria, which can help normalise the balance of good and bad bacteria in your system. I would suggest trying to consume probiotic yoghurt a few times a week. They are readily available from your supermarket. I would suggest looking for natural product, that is free from artificial sweeteners, as some yoghurt products unfortunately contain this. Secondly to help stimulate your appetite consider trying herbal teas. Camomile tea has been shon to have a soothing effect both in term of relaxation and sleep, but also an anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive system. Dandelion, Spearmint, Burdock, Peppermint teas also help stimulate appetite and calm upset stomachs. Sliced ginger root can be added to tea or used as a seasoning and helps sooth upset stomachs. Artichoke is a vegetable your should consider adding to your diet, consuming it helps stimulate the production of bile acids, which are involved in digestion. Additionally it helps protect the liver due to anti-oxidants cynarin and silymarin. Other things to consider is what and when you eat. Try to eat regularly making sure you eat three times a day and preferably at the same time for each meal, each day. Set your self a goal to eat at 7am,12pm and 6pm each day or whatever fits your schedule. Avoid skipping or missing meals, even if you are not hungry, try to eat a small snack, or even just a glass of milk or a piece of fruit at each meal time. The reason for this is so that your body starts getting used to eating at the same time each day. If you keep this up over time you will find your appetite will return as your body will be expecting food at these times.