Heartburn, bloated, constipated, or got the runs?!
These are common signs that your digestive tract needs some TLC.
The Importance of Digestive Wellness
There’s a saying in the nutrition world that “It’s not what you eat, but what you absorb that counts”.
Your digestive system, from your head all the way down to your bottom, has an enormous feat. It has to break down your food into microscopic pieces, extract from it all the nutrients your body needs, protect you against harmful microbes, and remove waste. It’s an extremely complex and elegantly coordinated system of many organs, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, chemicals, hormones, digestive and immune system cells, bacteria, and more.
However, if there are issues with any of the components of the digestive system, then the digestive process can be compromised. Many health problems occur because people aren’t properly digesting and absorbing their food.
Potential health problems from poor digestion & absorption include:
- Vitamin & mineral deficiencies
- Skin problems
- Depression & anxiety
- Fatigue and weakness
- Stomach upset
- Food sensitivities
- Brittle bones
- Autoimmune diseases
- Cancer, and much more
You could eat the heathiest diet and spend lots of money on the cleanest organic and natural foods, but if your body is unable to break down and absorb that food, then you aren’t getting the nutrients you need to thrive, and your symptoms won’t get any better.
Here are some tips for getting your digestion off to a good start:
1) Eat without distractions.
This means to sit down and eat your food without trying to multitask with work, devices, chores, driving, or any other tasks that will sabotage your enjoyment of food.
The digestive process starts in your brain: when you see, smell or even think about eating, your body starts creating more saliva, digestive enzymes and stomach acid in preparation for food. Distractions cause stress which reduces your body’s ability to properly start the digestive process.
2) Chew your food thoroughly.
Chewing is very important for starting the break-down of your food and releasing nutrients, so don’t rush it! Enjoy every bite.
3) Stay hydrated.
Water is needed to create saliva and for your gut to function properly. It also helps to prevent constipation. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight (in pounds), in fluid ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, then aim to drink 80 ounces of fluid throughout the day. This can include water, tea, soups, coffee, and other fluids. Try to avoid soda or sweetened drinks.
Of course, this is just the beginning of your food’s journey through your digestive system. There is so much more that goes on before your food ultimately ends up as poop. Unfortunately, I would need to write an entire book to explain everything… so, I will save it for future articles.
In the meantime, if the tips above don’t help and you’re still feeling bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable – be sure to reach out for help. Dora can take a deeper look at what might be going on with your digestive health and provide support to help improve your symptoms. Click here for a free consultation.
Lipski E. 2020. Digestive Wellness, 5th edition. McGraw Hill.