The process of breaking down food by mechanical and enzymatic action in the alimentary canal to break down food substances that can be used by the body.
The process of treating a substance by means of heat, enzymes, or a solvent to promote decomposition or extract essential components.
So we know that digestion is a normal body function we all have. Our miraculous bodies do it automatically so we really never pay attention to it until we actually feel bad. We might develop a stomach ache or pain. We most likely will experience gas, belching and bloating as well. You might even think these are normal bodily functions especially if it happens right after you eat. You might even take the famous purple pill (Nexium) or pop a roll of Tums in your mouth. You might not even have any symptoms at all.
What we can learn is that as we age and as we lead an unhealthy lifestyle, our bodies quit producing those so important enzymes that we need to digest the food. We also can quit popping those pills to cover up our symptoms and get to the root of the issues and start correcting the imbalance instead. If we don’t correct gut dysfunction our illness shows up in other areas too. Auto immune diseases, Diabetes, Obesity, sugar imbalances, joint pain and arthritis just to name a few.
My own health journey involves digestion and that purple pill. When I first started to feel bad about the time I turned 50, I had an Aunt who was only 4 years older than myself. She had ill health most of her life as did all of her sisters except my Mother who is 15 years older than her. I did know that she had digestive issues and her Doctor prescribed Nexium to her years ago before you could by it over the counter. What he didn’t do for her was to talk about her diet. She knew red wine and beef caused the terrible pain in her gut but instead of removing it from her diet she took the pills. They took away the pain until the next time she ate. She also ate from fast food restaurants and never exercised. Unfortunately my sweet Aunt died at the age of 54 from 2 kinds of cancer, the one in her stomach being the disease that her body couldn’t handle anymore.
What this did for me was give me a big wake up call! I had lost 3 other people in my life that year and it made me realize a few common denominators that my other Aunt, her sister and my uncle plus a good friend had. They all had horrible diets, never exercised, were all overweight plus they were on a myriad of prescription drugs since they were young. It made me realize I wanted a different plan for me and my family.
I found out that I was suffering from several food allergies or intolerances and lacked the acids and enzymes my stomach needed to digest the food I was taking in. Thank goodness I was always involved in natural health and I looked to Dr Kelly to help get to the root of my issues.
I would have to be a scientists and write for days to give all the information that is available on digestion and gut health. Just understanding the basics may help you identify if your gut is what might be ailing you.
Here is what Dr. Mark Hyman writes about why our digestion is off.
“ New evidence points to an unexpected source of metabolic problems and diabesity(disease) … a toxic digestive system.
Our diet has changed dramatically in the last 100 years with the industrialization of our food supply. This highly processed, high sugar, high fat, low fiber diet has substantially altered the bacteria that historically grew in our digestive tracts, and the change has been linked to weight gain and diabetes. Many modern inventions, including antibiotics, acid blockers, anti inflammatory medications, aspirin, steroids, antibiotics in our food supply, chronic stress all injure the gut, alter our gut flora, and lead to systemic inflammation.”
So we know that what we eat and take in medications is the major cause of our digestive issues. The good news is there are things we can do to ensure you are giving your gut everything it needs to function optimally.
A healthy diet… Eat real food with as few or no chemicals additives as possible. Eliminate sugar. Also if a certain food causes you distress then quit eating it. You can do an elimination diet to narrow down what foods you don’t tolerate or better yet get tested. (Emley Chiropractic has amazing resources for this) If you continue to eat untolerated foods your gut will react by sending the undigested particles to other areas of the body, which causes a whole realm of other issues. Eat fiber. We need fiber to add bulk to our stools for proper elimination. Fruits, vegetables and grains are your best sources for this. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are excellent foods to eat as they put back the proper beneficial bacteria to our gut. Yogurt can also do this but be weary of dairy as it is also a main allergen for most people.
Eliminate sugar…I know it was in the previous paragraph but it is so important that it deserves a paragraph all of its own. Most Americans consume way too much sugar. It alone upsets the body chemistry and the immune system. It is addictive and can destroy a persons health. It causes unhealthy yeast overgrowth in the gut and is a main problem with digestive tract issues.
Exercise… Exercising improves all body functions! We need both aerobic exercise and resistance training in order for our cells to function. Without it we become stiff and sore. A walk around the block is great but not enough. Next month we will cover the details of incorporating a good consistent exercise program into your healthy lifestyle. In the meantime go work up a sweat!
Drink water… Without water our bodies become dehydrated and everything we eat gets stuck in our intestinal track. Dr F. Batmanghelidj writes in his book “Your Bodies Many Cries For Water” that most diseases are started from chronic dehydration. Coffee, teas, alcohol, and all the crazy chemical laden vitamin and energy drinks DO NOT replace water. Quite the opposite… they dehydrate you even more. A good formula is to take half your body weight and drink that many ounces a day.
Supplement… When we lack the ability to produce natural enzymes and stomach acid we can take whole food supplements to give our gut what it needs to digest the particles and repair any harm that has already been done. Unlike the purple pill these supplements add in what you need rather than cover up the symptoms. Most people benefit from natural enzymes, betaine hydrochloride, and probiotics. They work synergistically to break down the food plus put back the good bacteria for a healthy gut. Standard Process supplements covers all of these even putting them together in formulas to make it easy. This is the key for me to stay healthy. I include enzymes and HCL plus probiotics with my meals.
Reduce stress… Stress is one of the major five causes of disease. Along with poor diet, toxins, microbes and allergens, chronic stress causes our DNA to change our gene expression to turn on or off different genes and messages that affect our metabolism. When those systems are out of balance disease occurs. * Makes you realize we should all really do something about less stress not just talk about it!
I love what Nancy Appleton PhD sums it up by saying “ You can see how your health can be jeopardized by eating sugar and a variety of other abusive substances, and by upsetting your body chemistry through stress and other bad habits. To summarize the chain of events:
When the body is abused, its minerals become deficient. Since enzymes are dependent on minerals to function, they do not function optimally. This, in turn, causes incomplete digestion of food. Undigested food gets into the bloodstream .The cells cannot get the nutrients they need from the food in this undigested form. As a result, our immune system must come to our defense and escort this foreign protein (the undigested food) out of the body. The immune system, which was not meant to do this continually, becomes exhausted. The exhaustion of the immune system is the beginning of the degenerative process.”
Really it all goes back to the same thing we are all trying to achieve. A healthy lifestyle. Choosing to explore your digestion issues might be the key to other challenges as well.
Happy Spring… (finally!)
Standard Process recommendations:
The staff at Emley Chiropractic will help you determine which of these will suit your needs.
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Cindy can be reached by phone at 602-989-0599 or
Please visit my website www.cynergyhealthandwellness.com
- Dr Mark Hyman… The Blood Sugar Solution