• Leighan Brown, PA

Suggestions for Better Digestion

You’ve probably heard the old saying,” You are what you eat”. That statement is true to some degree, but it would be more accurate to say, “You are what you digest and absorb”. For us to absorb the nutrients in our food, we must first break it down into absorbable sizes. This starts in the mouth with digestive enzymes from our salivary glands and thorough grinding with our teeth. After we swallow, our food makes it down to the stomach where hydrochloric acid and pepsin further breakdown our food and sterilize it. Next stop is the small intestine where bile from the gall bladder helps to break down fats and pancreatic enzymes help to break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. As the food moves through the small intestine, nutrients are absorbed. Ninety-five percent of all digestion takes place in the small intestine. The large intestine absorbs water and minerals and prepares the “leftovers” for elimination.

If you’ve been experiencing digestive discomfort such as bloating, belching and excessive gas, then there is a good chance your digestion is not operating optimally. There are some things we can do to help improve digestion and make it a more comfortable process.

·Slowly and thoroughly chew your food. Each bite should be chewed 20-30 times. This allows for optimal mixing of amylase (a digestive enzyme) in our saliva, which begins breaking down carbohydrates and turning them into energy.

· Take time to enjoy your food. So often in our society we find ourselves eating “on the go” or eating in a rushed manner. If we eat when we’re rushed, our nervous system is not primed for digestion and we become more prone to bloating, belching, gas, and constipation and/or diarrhea.

· If possible, don’t drink with your meals. This dilutes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Hydrochloric acid is needed to break down and digest proteins.

· Eat smaller amounts. This prevents stomach distension which can lead to over stretching the sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach that holds all the food in, so we don’t get annoying reflux.

Don’t eat late at night and don’t eat large, heavy meals before bedtime. In the normal circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle), the liver and gallbladder are doing routine maintenance and repair between 1AM – 3AM. If the liver and gallbladder are still working on digestion, then they can’t work on maintenance and repair and they get over worked and sluggish. Therefore, some people routinely wake up around this time and have difficulty getting back to sleep.

· Supplement your digestion with digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid. There are several reasons we may need additional support for digestion. Some of the most common are aging, eating devitalized foods that have had the natural enzymes cooked out of them (processed foods), certain medications, those deficient in zinc and B vitamins and stress, just to name a few.

At Bioenergetic Wellness Center of Boerne, we can help you identify ways to improve your overall digestion. Give us a call to see how we can help you with better digestion at 830-322-3022. Visit our website at www.bwcofboerne.com.

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