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Digestion 101

WHY IS DIGESTION SO IMPORTANT? Your digestion is connected to how you feel and function every single day from the energy you have to the fat your burn and the texture and appearance of your hair, skin and nails to whether you feel bloated or not. Sadly 70% of women in the Western world suffer from IBS so they aren’t getting those luscious locks, glowing skin and they are feeling as bloated as f**k after eating. Food isn’t meant to bloat us, ladies!! The gut is the second brain in your body. 80% of the body’s total serotonin is in the gut. Serotonin is our primary happy, calm and content hormone so gut dysfunction can enormously affect your mood STEPS TO IMPROVE DIGESTION The first step is to CHEW. Many of us are always in a hurry that we forget to chew our food! Your stomach then has no time to prepare itself for the influx of food with the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. And given that all of your hormones and the messages being communicated by your nervous system are telling your body that your life is in danger (because you are stressed about quickly eating ur food), you have no enzymes available to digest food. So slow down and chew your food. If you are a food inhaler, try this: put food in your mouth and chew it really well, and then swallow before you put the next mouthful in. Even before you take a bite the aroma of food can stimulate the production of stomach acid, an exceptionally important substance when it comes to great digestion. The role of the stomach is to break down food. Your body is governed by pH ranges. The pH range is from 1 to 14 and 7 is neutral. The optimal pH level of your stomach is 1.9 which is so acidic it would burn you if it touched your skin. For many people though the pH levels of their stomach acid is not acidic enough and this isn’t ideal for digestion. Lemon juice and ACV (Apple cider vinegar) helps the stomach acid and taking the time to prepare our meals so that we can smell the aroma also helps. Chewing is also telling the brain to send a signal to the stomach to let it know that food is coming. It is best to drink water between meals. Water has a pH of 7 or above depending on the mineral content and when you add a liquid with a pH of 7 or more to one with the pH of 2, you dilute the stomach acid. Drink water between meals not with meals. Stress is a major contribution factor to IBS and bloating - so try and take a few deep breaths each day and don’t eat when you are stressed The chronic production of stress hormones can compromise the integrity of the gut cells and signal to them that they need to move further apart so that more nutrition can get through to the blood, as nutrient requirements increasing during times of stress. Trouble is, we get stuck in the stress response. If food travels through a gut in which the cells have come part, it may go straight ahead or it may move out of the gut and into the blood. Fragments of food are not intended to enter the blood. Nutritional fragments of food enter the bloodstream, the immune system, which is what protect you from infection, but the gut now thinks that the food fragment is a germ and it mounts an immune response against it. This is one-way adults develop food sensitivities. Poor gut integrity is also described as ‘leaky gut’ Take home message? Digestion is important. Chew your food. Be mindful when eating. Stress less. Don’t drink with meals. image via Pinterest