Through our daily eating habits we very often indirectly refer to our digestion. Can you recall sometimes saying, “I feel stuffed”, “My stomach hurts”, “The beans caused me gas”, “I feel the food coming up”. These are signs that you are not taking enough care of your digestion.
- The digestion process starts even before the food enters your mouth! Quality of food and the exogenous enzymes in the food you are about to eat are crucial factors for digestion.
- Once the food enters the mouth, the saliva which contains enzymes such amylase is already starting the digestion process.
- Once in the stomach, we are still in the pre-digestion phase with the help of the right acidity (PH level of 1-3).
- In the upper part of the small intestine the digestive juice of the pancreas continues the digestion of all the nutrients. But even this cannot be acknowledged to be complete digestion, but only an advanced phase of predigestion.
- Finally digestion of food is accomplished by the cells lining the small intestine.
Why is digestion important for our overall health?
- Digesting food is a very taxing process for the body
The sleepy effect, after a meal when you have overeaten or the quality of food is bad, is due to the fact that the whole body (like the pancreas) is recruiting resources (the little workers called enzymes) to help with the digestion. This diverts focus from other key health metabolic activities and puts the whole body in halt. We will start looking very closely into the role of exogenous enzymes in one of the following posts, and talk about enzyme deficient diets, but I highly recommend start reading the suggested content at the end of the post.
- Improper digestion can lead to nutrient deficiency
Not being able to properly break-down food in the long digestive process is an area where most of us suffer. This can lead to not being able to trigger the necessary processes to absorb the needed nutrients. Some reasons can be low stomach acid, low enzyme secretion, not proper bacteria balance, and many more which can result in all the “well known” bloating, gas, burping, constipation etc.
Improper digestion will eventually also result into a leaky gut which is responsible for allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream.
So where do we start?
- Give your gut some breathing space, by starting intermittent fasting.
- Eat your meals slowly and chew your food properly. Take your time and enjoy your meal. I am only starting to appreciate the importance of this point.
- Eat until satisfied but not full. The body has a certain rate of producing digestive enzymes and will not be able to cope with the demand if you overeat.
- Drink a tablespoon of Apple-Cider Vinegar (ACV) before every meal to help activate the digestive enzymes and make your stomach more acidic. Put some lemon juice as well!
- Cut out processed food and increase fermented ones, like blue cheese, tofu, sauerkraut.
- Enzymes are the little workers in our body involved for most if not all activities in our body. Don't waste them only on the digestion.
- Start Intermittent fasting.
- Record your digestion daily. It is very important to start being aware of your your body and the effects that your actions have on it.
- By subscribing to our newsletter you will get a 2-week plan along side with a great daily blog template to use!
Suggested Reading (or viewing)
- Enzyme Nutrition, The Food Enzyme Concept – Edward Howell