IMPROVING YOUR DIGESTION!
IMPROVING YOUR DIGESTION!
Nutritional deficiencies, behavioral conditions such as ADHD, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer can be due to imbalanced nutrition and/or improper digestive function. The American diet plays a dual role in digestive concerns. Many of the foods offered are processed, acidic, and void of necessary nutrients leading to deficiency and sub-optimal functionality of our organs. This deficiency leads to decreased ability to detoxify unnecessary compounds found abundant in the standard American diet from binders, oxidized “trans” fats, fillers, preservatives, colorants, etc. Not only are the foods we are eating void of necessary nutrients but additionally they are taxing our organs which are already malnourished and overworked! Clean non-processed food choices play an integral role to limiting toxicity, fueling organ function, and improving nutritional balance in our system; however, if your digestive function is compromised, you may not reap the benefit of your selections and balanced foods can become toxic if not properly excreted! It is easy to adapt to digestive imbalances when they become common for our system. All too often, we may find ourselves coping with heartburn, bloating, constipation, loose stools, digestive pains, etc. rather than resolving them. These symptoms are a way for your body to tell you it is not functioning properly. Beyond food selection and anatomical (structural) digestive function, Americans are eating in a stressful environment; at their desks, in their cars, etc. or worse they may skip a meal! Below I will walk you through the digestive process, how it functions, what is required, and how you can explore and correct possible imbalance with food as medicine!
DIGESTION STARTS IN THE MOUTH.
Adequate chewing is essential to break down a solid into a liquid “sludge” form. Enzymes in your saliva mix with food to break them down. Chewing your food in a relaxed mindful environment provides the best opportunity for optimal nutrition. Blending greens into a smoothie is a great way to get a boost to your day and pre-digest your foods.
AFTER PASSING THE ESOPHAGUS AND ENTERING THE STOMACH, ENZYMES, BILE AND HYDROCHLORIC ACID ( HCL) MIX TO CHURN FOOD.
The stomach functions in an acidic environment, in fact our stomach is supposed to be acidic enough to break down a copper penny! This environment is necessary to absorb and activate nutrients. When a client with heart burn takes a medication such as a proton pump inhibitor (Nexium, Protonix, etc), it decreases their acidity causing inability to breakdown and absorb nutrients causing nutritional deficiency. Bile is made in the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and is a necessary source of acid. To flush your liver (prevent fatty liver) and boost digestive juices: mix 2 Tbsp Braggs Raw Apple cider vinegar or 1/2 lemon juiced with 4-6 oz water and drink first thing in the morning.
ONCE IN THE GUT OR GASTROINTESTINAL ( GI) TRACT, NUTRIENTS CAN NOW BE ABSORBED INTO THE BLOOD STREAM.
It is important that the lining of the gut remains intact and in an anti-inflammatory state. Probiotic foods can help with breaking down nutrients and will line the gut keeping it healthy and free from viruses/negative bacteria. Try adding natural plain yogurt or saurkraut (fermented vegetables) to your daily intake.
IRRITANTS TO THE GUT SUCH AS FOOD SENSITIVITIES AND GLUTEN CAN DESTROY THE LINING AND CAUSE LEAKING OF NUTRIENTS/FOOD PARTICLES INTO THE BLOOD STREAM.
It is important to assess for irritants or food allergies through Elimination Diet or MRT testing to ensure you are not wrecking havoc. Gluten has a protein, gliadin, that unlocks the lining of the gut leading to “Leaky gut”.
ONCE FOOD PASSES THROUGH THE GUT, IT MOVES TO THE LARGE INTESTINE OR COLON.
Fiber and fluid are an important aspect of motility and excretion. Aim for 25-35g of fiber (focus on soluble and insoluble fiber) and 1/2 your body weight in fl oz of water daily to maintain regularity, excrete toxins, and prevent cancer.