Digestion is the process of breaking down tightly bound molecules into individual nutrients that can be taken into your body and used to support its functions. Simply defined, digestion is cutting things down to a size in which they can be absorbed into your body.
Proper digestive health is basic to the healthy function of every organ system in the body. If your digestion is bad, nutrients from your food aren’t made available for absorption and malnutrition can ensue.
It’s been said that health begins in the stomach. When the digestive system is not working properly, the whole body suffers.
It is estimated that about 90% of all disease have nutritional links that can be relieved or prevented when optimizing nutrition & digestion.
Skin rash, bad breath, headache, fatigue, overweight, and premature aging can all result from poor digestion.
Speedy digestion therefore, is step one to maintaining optimal health. If a food is not digested completely or properly, and lingers in the digestive tract longer than necessary, it will produce toxic by products.
When this is the case, many otherwise beneficial food products, in particular, difficult to digest animal protein and other such fiber free foods, instead of being properly utilized by the body are released undigested back into the system in the form of toxins, thereby initiating an inflammatory response from the immune system.
Scientists have discovered that many people have a defect in the way their body processes proteins. One group of these, the toxic metabolites of two crucial amino acids found in animal protein, arginine and ornithine, have been found in the blood of many people who suffer from digestive trouble. Elevated levels of polyamines have been shown to cause and aggravate psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
A disease in the digestive tract might cause indigestion, but for many people it results from eating too much, eating too quickly, eating high-fat foods, or eating during stressful situations. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, using medications that irritate the stomach lining, being tired and having ongoing stress can also cause indigestion or make it worse.
Our intestines replace their lining every three days, and react swiftly to expel harmful substances. However, a diet high in refined and processed foods that are nutritionally deficient are a cause of excess mucus formation, which can lead to many gastrointestinal problems that include flatulence, indigestion, and chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcers.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
When your digestive system is not operating properly, the unhealthy toxic environment actually destroys the lining of the digestive tract causing a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Leaky gut refers to an increased permeability of the intestinal wall, resulting in the increased passage of substances from the intestines to the bloodstream. In other words, large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall and bacteria, toxins, and food leak in. The body does not recognize them and activates the immune system to search and destroy. The result is inflammation.
In relation to food, this is the most common single cause of food allergies and skin conditions. Numerous studies have shown that psoriasis is strongly linked with leaky gut syndrome.
The overuse of antibiotics, steroids (cortisones), birth control pills, antacids, and anti-ulcer medications are also considered a major cause of leaky gut syndrome. Broad- spectrum antibiotics can kill all the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract. The bad bacteria then actually burrows holes in the lining of the digestive tract, which gives way to undigested food getting through and going straight into our bloodstream, hence the reason for many of the cases of eczema and psoriasis.
Probiotics For Digestive Health
Probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum, help restore a balance of friendly bacteria to the body’s digestive tract thus aiding in digestion. The acidophilus repopulates your digestive tract with microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive tract, helps further break down your food, and competes for space and nutrients with harmful microorganisms that may be present, diminishing their numbers.
I would highly recommend a product called Primal Defense produced by Garden of Life Inc. This product contains seven kinds of beneficial acidophilus, plus 100 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes.
The main component in Primal Defense is HSOs, which have been used for over 22 years by thousands of health care practitioners. The non-mutated naturally occurring colonies of probiotics are from the original, pristine cultures found in unpolluted soil and plants, now cultivated in U.S. laboratories using proprietary methods. The HSOs are in a substrate of nutrient rich super-foods providing vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes and proteins. The probiotics are then made dormant using the Microflora Delivery System, which protects and delivers them directly to the GI tract where they multiply and flourish.
The following are practical measures that can be taken to smooth your overall digestive function
1. Exercise. For the digestive system to speedily and smoothly process the incoming food products, it needs proper exercise the same way fire needs fuel. Exercise aids digestion by helping the normal movements the intestines make to push food forward. It is a fact, that people who do not move around much are often constipated.
Tip: Exercising with a full stomach may cause indigestion, so scheduling exercise before a meal or at least an hour afterward might help.
Both exercise and digestion require increased blood flow. When you exercise with a lot of food or fluid in your stomach, the stomach and working muscles battle for extra blood. The result is that food doesn’t leave the stomach as quickly as it should and indigestion may occur.
2. Eat slowly chew your food properly. We often make the mistake of wolfing food down so we can move on to the next activity in our busy lives, but digestion functions better when we take the time to slow down.
It is a scientific fact that more than fifty percent of the digestive process takes place even before you swallow your food, when the food products are mixed with the saliva. If you don’t chew your food properly your stomach will have a much harder time processing your food. Therefore, chew and chew some more!
Digestive Enzymes for proper digestive health
Our pancreas produces digestive enzymes in order to break down the nutrients contained in the foods we eat.
Digestive enzymes are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down the food in the body so that the nutrients can be absorbed.
Enzymes are essential for the digestion and absorption of food, for it’s conversion into body tissue, and for production of energy at the cellular level. Read more on the vital importance of digestive enzymes.