So, you are eating better – making better food choices, most of the time– buying more organic produce.
Now the question is – how is your digestion?
Are you absorbing – assimilating and eliminating everything that you are eating?
Are you turning the food you eat into the fuel and building blocks needed by the cells of your muscles, organs, nerves and brain?
Starting at the mouth and ending at the anus, the digestive system not only includes the stomach and intestinal tract (the obvious organs we associate with digestion) but the less obvious salivary glands, pancreas, liver and gallbladder, as well.
I will not bore you with all the gory details but, simply put, it is a mechanical and chemical process involving both the:
- Mechanical – the chewing.
- Chemical – digestive juices – enzymes.
Unfortunately, as we age our digestive system may not perform as well as it should. For instance, the secretion of gastric acids decreases.
In order for us to get all of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the food we eat into our cells, we need to make sure that we are absorbing and assimilating them.
Doctors recognize the issue some of us have with too much acid secretion, but what about too little acid? The symptoms can often be the same, because we need sufficient acidity to activate enzymes for breaking down proteins and fats.
In my practice I assess the clients digestion by giving them a symptomatology questionnaire to determine what portion of the digestive system and organs are weak and I make a note of any preexisting illness and medications that might be affecting the digestive system.
Then I can make my recommendations of herbs or digestive enzymes, accordingly.
A few suggestions that everyone can make use of:
1) To help digestion:
Before a meal drink a cup of hot water.
Chew food well
Eat lots of fiber – fruits and vegetables.
Drink 1 to 1.5 lts of water a day.
Eat whole rather than refined grains.
Eat small meals.
Take probiotics – either as plain yogurt, fermented vegetables or in supplement form.
Consume cardamom, fennel, anise, ginger and mint to ease indigestion.
Relax – relax – relax!
2) Avoid inhibiting digestion with:
Cold icy water before a meal.
Sugar or fruit juices.
Stress and anxiety
What illnesses and conditions are associated with poor digestion?
Just about everything!! The list would make this blog too long.
Contact me for more information on digestive aids and for a holistic digestion evaluation.