One of my most frequent questions to new clients is, “how is your digestion?” The typical response is “Fine. I poop.” Then they usually go on to tell me about many symptoms they are experiencing that are highly indicative of poor digestion: bloating, cramping, gas, burping, brain fog, fatigue, hormone imbalances, insomnia, nausea caused by eating fatty foods, depression, anxiety, autoimmune issues and more. Hippocrates stated that, “All diseases begin in the gut.” This is SO true!
The digestive tract is the system that allows nutrition into the body and the main pathway for waste products to exit the body. When does not work properly, health problems are sure to ensue. Not only does it bring nutrition in and take waste out, but the majority of the body’s immune system is located in the gut. And, as you can imagine, if the gut doesn’t work right, immunity will be compromised.
Digestion is a north to south process. I will be writing several blog posts about the major “stops” along the digestive pathway in coming weeks. But, I’d like to offer a couple of tips that will help you improve your digestion right now:
The digestive process is a parasympathetic process. This means that it will work best if you are in a relaxed state when you eat. So, skip the drive through and eating on the run. Sit down, give thanks for your food and eat slowly and thoughtfully.
Chew your food thoroughly! This is a free and profoundly simple way to take a huge burden off your stomach and small intestines. Enzymes in saliva start the digestive process right in the mouth. And the more thoroughly you chew, the more work the enzymes can do and the less work your stomach will have to do. Most people have low levels of stomach acid (look for a future post about this- it’s the most common cause of acid reflux!). Chewing your food thoroughly gives the acid in your stomach more surface area to work on to break the food down into usable molecules. Think about which would dissolve faster in a beaker of hydrochloric acid: a whole cheeseburger or a cheeseburger that was blended up and mixed with some saliva?