"All disease begins in the gut" - Hippocrates
Bad digestion is one of the number one complaints I hear in my practice. Its also one of the first things we address during any healing program. Why? Digestion is your first line of defense against pathogens and toxins and how food is broken down to provide nutrition to our cells and a strong digestive system can make all the difference in your health!
So lets talk a little bit about how keeping your digestion strong can keep you healthy.
First off a majority of pathogens or bugs (bacteria, viruses, parasites) enter your body through your mouth. We put our hands in our mouth, the water we drink and the foods we eat, the air we breath all carry pathogens that are easily absorbed through this passage. When digestive fire is strong our body has a chance of blocking and removing these bugs to help keep us healthy. When digestion is weak we are open to becoming a good host for these pathogens and this allows them the chance to thrive and create problems.
Digestion is the process by which our food is broken down into a form that can be absorbed into the blood system and carried to cells throughout the body to provide nourishment and energy.
A strong digestive system also means that food is being broken down properly so that digestion can take place further down the digestive system. When foods are not properly broken down the nutrition from these foods are not able to be fully absorbed by the cells therefore this lack of nutrition can lower the immune system.
How does digestion become weak?
The inability to digest food properly could indicate a deficiency of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. This is a common problem due to poor eating habits and high stress levels. If there is a deficiency in digestive enzymes your body will pull enzymes into the digestive organs from other parts of your body, which are critical for proper immune regulation and cellular processes. This could lead to a depletion of enzymes in other systems and processes not directly related to digestion.
How can digestion be strengthened?
There are many things you can do to ensure that your digestive fire is burning strong. The following are a few tips to help you out:
- Do not drink water with meals - water may dilute stomach acid needed to fully break down food in the stomach. It is best to drink a large glass of water 1/2 hour prior to eating your meals and wait to drink again for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Eat while seated and in a restful state - Stress while eating can reduce your stomach acid levels leaving undigested food behind.
- Take herbal digestive bitters before and after eating - Digest herbal bitters help stimulate the digestive process of your body and help to enhance and restore your digestive capability. You can also use fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- As a temporary solution to increasing digestive function you can supplement with HCL or digestive enzymes while retraining your body to digest properly without them.
- Chew your food until it becomes liquified. The more you chew the more digestive enzymes are released by your body and the more broken down the food is making it easier for the stomach to digest.
- Take your time while eating. Put your fork down between bites and don't shovel your food in quickly to get back to what you were doing prior. Food is meant to be enjoyed not inhaled.
- Eat whole fresh non processed foods. Fruits and vegetables digest quicker than animal protein so going vegetarian for a couple days or doing an occasional juice or bone broth cleanse to give your body a break is a good idea.
- Eat probiotic rich foods with each meal such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, etc..
Pure food + complete digestion = ideal health
In good health,
Brandy Augustine Phd
"The gut healer"
Studio Be Well