The well-being of your entire body depends on the interconnected network of your digestive system. It’s important to understand that digestion does not just involve the breakdown of food. It also includes various functions like assimilating nutrients, eliminating waste, and maintaining the body’s equilibrium. The root cause of many health problems stems from digestive issues.
The Digestive System Overview
The process of digestion starts in the mouth, where enzymes like amylase break down carbohydrates. An essential part of the digestive process is chewing your food adequately—aim for 30-35 times. The more you chew, the less you need to count. In fact, chewing goes beyond simply being a mechanical process. Chewing aids in the breakdown of food, making it easier for nutrients to be absorbed.
According to the research findings, it has been determined that digestive diseases account for a significant 95% of the current prevalent cases. Your overall health and longevity are greatly influenced by the important function of the digestive system. The global suffering that is so prevalent in today’s world can be attributed to a multitude of factors, such as high stress lifestyles, making poor decisions, relying on processed living, and leaving emotions unresolved.
When the process of digestion begins in the mouth, a signal is sent to the cells in the stomach, prompting them to produce hydrochloric acid. The acid, which plays a crucial role, then triggers the production of enzymes that have the important task of breaking down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. When you are feeling stressed and wired, it becomes much more likely for this process to be compromised.
Rest and Digest
Giving our bodies the chance to rest and properly digest is essential for optimal digestion. When you are constantly on the go or immersed in a fast-paced environment, it is important to recognize that your body may not have the optimal conditions for digestion. In order for your body to receive the signal for effective digestion, it is essential to slow down and take a few deep breaths.
In today’s fast-paced and highly technologically advanced society, it has become quite common for individuals to face increased levels of stress daily. A large portion of the population is frequently diagnosed with either acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by healthcare professionals. It is important to note, that our biology indicates a reduction in acid production when experiencing high levels of stress, and this decrease can potentially lead to the emergence of different health issues. The similarity of symptoms caused by high and low acid levels is surprising, making it extremely difficult to differentiate between the two.
The Organ Interplay
Virtually all types of food, supplements, or toxins that make their way into your digestive tract must first go through the liver, then travel through your bloodstream, and finally arrive at your cells. The liver, which is a vital organ within your body, carries out various functions that are essential for your well-being. With its multifunctional role, the liver plays a crucial part in our body by filtering the blood, producing bile in the appropriate quantities, and assisting in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and the binding of toxins.
The gallbladder, which stores bile – a substance produced by the liver–plays a crucial role in aiding the digestion of fats and detoxification. When the gallbladder is not working efficiently, you may experience symptoms such as bloating, discomfort, and a reduction in fat absorption.
This is where the majority of nutrient absorption occurs. Much like a sponge, the small intestine in your body demonstrates an extraordinary capacity to absorb crucial vitamins and minerals.
The large intestine, which is responsible for carrying out several important functions, is the final step in the digestive process. Maintaining hydration and the body’s electrolyte balance relies on the absorption of water and electrolytes, which is one of the primary functions of these plays. The body relies on the large intestine to effectively remove indigestible materials in its waste elimination process. Instead of being digested, the healthy bacteria in your body utilize complex carbohydrates and prebiotics as a source of nourishment.
What Causes Poor Digestion?
Your body functions as a harmoniously synchronized instrument, with each part relying on the others for optimal performance. The combination of living a high stress life, being exposed to high toxins, and consuming nutrient devoid foods can have detrimental effects on your bodily system, leading to various complications.
Having low stomach acid can contribute to the development of various problems. With microbiome health, one important aspect to consider is…The presence of the correct pH in your digestive system is crucial for safeguarding your body against harmful bacteria and fungal species. Furthermore, poor protein digestion, as well as malabsorption of B vitamins and minerals, are common consequences of low acid levels. These issues can cause feelings of sluggishness, imbalance, constipation, and bloating.
Besides its other functions, maintaining the appropriate pH level in your body also affects your transit time, which is the period between eating and the rate of elimination.
Poor Food Choices
The type of food you consume can have a significant impact on your digestion. Where your food comes from, the processing involved, and what your food eats can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. For nourishing our mind, body, and spirit, it is essential to understand that food plays a vital role as an energy source. Thus, it is in one’s best interest to consider their food choices. The consumption of processed foods, along with a high sugar intake and insufficient fiber intake, can all exacerbate digestive problems.
The Unexpected Causes
This is something that I frequently come across. It is estimated that around 70% of our body is made up of water. Proper hydration plays a vital role in promoting optimal digestion and assimilation. Lack of it can lead to constipation and other digestive problems.
It is not a commonly discussed topic, but indigestion can occur on multiple levels within your being. Your emotional state, including feelings of stress and anxiety, can have a physical impact on your body, specifically by disrupting the normal functioning of your digestive system. Even an emotion can go undigested, leading to indigestion and imbalances.
In order to restore your health, it is essential to have a good understanding of what causes poor digestion. Every single factor mentioned provides a distinct and valuable perspective on the inner workings of your body for optimal functionality. Take a moment to reflect on these causes and consider the steps that you can take to improve your digestion.
What Are the Symptoms of Poor Digestion?
- Abdominal Pain/Cramps
- Constipation and Diarrhea
- Feeling Full After Eating Small Amounts
- Fatty Stool
- Lack of Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Weight Gain
- How Can I Improve My Digestive System?
How to Start Improving Your Digestive System
Start by Journaling
Being mindful of both the food you consume and the impact it has on your body is essential. One can experience enlightening revelations through the practice of self-reflection. If you are interested, you have the option to check out the mindful journal, which can serve as a helpful guide to assist you on your journey towards improving your digestion.
Take a moment to re-adjust your nerves and find calmness by intentionally slowing down your pace. On top of that, if you find yourself with the time and flexibility, the simple act of preparing food can have a profound and favorable effect on your entire digestive process.
By taking a few deep breaths, you can effectively put your body into a parasympathetic state, providing support for the process of digestion. I recommend trying out a technique called diaphragmatic breathing, which involves taking deep breaths using your diaphragm. I highly recommend that you this video for a step-by-step walkthrough.
Stay Hydrated—But Sip Through a Meal
If you strongly prefer having liquids with your meal, one option is to gradually sip warm to hot beverages. In order to support efficient digestion, it is advisable to avoid overindulging in water and/or cold beverages while eating, as this can dilute the digestive juices and weaken the digestive process. Another tip to keep in mind is to drink liquids either 30 minutes prior to or following a meal.
What is the Secret to Good Digestion?
The foundation for achieving optimal digestion lies in maintaining consistent eating habits. By maintaining a consistent schedule, you can train your body to feel hungry and kickstart the digestion process at the same time each day.
Making a conscious effort to be mindful of your food choices and eating habits can have a profound impact on your overall health and wellness. Don’t forget that it is you who holds the power, not the other way around.
Re-ignite the Fire Within
According to Ayurveda, if an individual has a weak digestive fire, also known as “Agni,” it can have negative effects on their digestion and cause a buildup of toxins. One way to stoke your agni is by incorporating spices like ginger and turmeric into your meals. By incorporating these spices into your diet, you can effectively ignite your digestive fire, leading to enhanced digestion and improved overall health.
The Mind-Body Connection
Balanced Emotional Health
In order to achieve good digestion, it is important to recognize that your emotional well-being is just as important as the food you consume. The connection between your emotional state and the sensitivity of your digestive system is significant. Stress, anxiety, and even excitement can easily disturb the delicate balance of the digestive system. Your emotions have the power to cause you to overeat, seeking to fill emotional gaps that food alone can not satisfy. This temporary fix may prevent you from selecting nutritious foods that can truly heal and nourish your body. To begin, take the first step towards improving your emotional well-being by being more mindful.
The Mind-Body Connection
Your digestive system, often referred to as your second brain, plays a crucial role in your overall well-being. The hub of neurotransmitters in your gut communicates with your brain, ultimately affecting your mood, focus, and even your ability to decide. By prioritizing the nourishment of your digestive system, you are not only tending to your physical well-being, but also nurturing your soul.
The Power of Personalization
Each person’s digestive system is unique from one another. Just because a certain approach or strategy works for someone else doesn’t guarantee that it will work for you. Understanding and acknowledging the unique needs of your body is an essential component in prioritizing your overall well-being. To make the most out of this journey, rely on self-reflection and personalized approaches, as they will be your strongest allies.
Top 11 Ways to improve Your Digestion
1. Eat Whole Fresh Foods
2. Chew Your Food Thoroughly
3. Stay Hydrated
4. Reduce Stress and Strengthen Your Vagus Nerve—watch this for specific exercises
5. Reduce or Eliminate Processed/Sugary Foods
6. Stay Active – keeps things flowing
7. Don’t Overeat
8. Include Bitter Foods: To naturally increase acid production (HCL), include bitter foods in meals, like dandelion greens
9. Include Fiber with Every Meal
10. Eat on Regular Times to Support Optimal Digestion
11. Include Herbs/Spices to Boost Digestive Fire
If you want to achieve optimal digestion, the first step is to become more mindful of the food choices you make. When thinking about food, it is vital to consider a range of factors, preparation, its origin, how well it suits your unique biology, and, most significantly, how it affects your emotional state.
Develop the habit of being attuned to your body, truly comprehending its individual needs, and taking deliberate actions aimed at preserving a healthy and balanced digestive system. You’re not just what you eat–you’re how you digest, absorb, and eliminate. Embark on this journey of digestion, which serves as a pathway to self-discovery and the healing of your gut.