Simple Aids To Digestion (6 TIPS TO IMPROVE DIGESTION)
You see it all the time, friends and family burping and farting at the dinner table; it’s become so commonplace that people don’t even say “excuse me” anymore. People are even carrying around antacids like it’s a pack of gum. Popping them with every meal. There’s a huge problem with taking antacids as you will discover later in this article.
Acid reflux, gas, bloating, burping out of the ordinary, stomach distention, irregular bowel movements, headaches, muscle/joint aches, these are all signs of poor digestion.
The #1 cause of poor digestion.
Stress. Commonly called “The Silent Killer”. Many people run around looking for pills to fix everything, but instead of medicating the cause you should be looking at the cause which is usually diet and lifestyle factors.
“Stress is not a state of mind… it’s measurable and dangerous, and humans can’t seem to find their off-switch.” These words of warning come from renowned author and award-winning neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky in the documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer.
Poor Food Quality and Overcooking Food
Even if you have high quality food, if you overcook it you will kill the food, kill the enzymes, you’ll destroy too much of the nutrition in the food, and the benefits gained in cooking foods like high fiber in some meats that need to be cooked can be lost when you overcook it. For example when you eat red meat you should cook it as little as possible, searing each side but leaving the inside raw is the healthiest way to consume your red meat. If you eat a well done steak you’re just eating dead carcass.
Food quality has to be high or you’re not going to have adequate enzymes and nutrition. Always buy organic when possible.
Eating Too Fast
Absorb more nutrients and energy from foods. Chewing breaks your food down from large particles into smaller particles that are more easily digested. This also makes it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients and energy from the food particles as they pass through, while also preventing improperly digested food from entering your blood and causing a wide range of adverse effects to your health.
Saliva contains digestive enzymes, so the longer you chew, the more time these enzymes have to start breaking down your food, making digestion easier on your stomach and small intestine. One of these enzymes is lingual lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fats, for example. Saliva also helps to lubricate your food so it’s easier on your esophagus.
The chewing process predigests your food into small pieces and partially liquefies it, making it easier to digest. Digestion is actually a very demanding task for your body, requiring a great deal of energy, especially if forced to digest improperly chewed food. Chewing properly allows your stomach to work more efficiently and break down your food faster.
When large particles of improperly chewed food enter your stomach, it may remain undigested when it enters your intestines. There bacteria will begin to break it down, or in other words it will start to putrefy, potentially leading to gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, cramping and other digestive problems.
Being constipated is a great way to be tired and sick! When you are constipated dangerous bacteria have time to come out of spore form and proliferate in your intestinal tract, as do parasites. Once they have time to hang out in your intestinal tract, they begin migrating through your body to their favorite organs. Once there, they begin eating into your tissues to lay their egg (doesn’t this sound lovely?), producing high levels of inflammation. As inflammation increases, so does the stress hormone cortisol, which will exhaust your adrenal glands typically within as little as 4-6 months.
The most common cause of constipation is dehydration, when this happens toxins concentrate in the colon. Since the colon is the first place the body tries to harvest additional water in a dehydrated person, as the body squeezes water from your stale old poop, it also takes in very toxic liquid that puts a huge burden on the liver and detoxification systems in general.
If you’re eating 3 meals a day but are only pooping once every 3 days, or even once a day could be a problem, this means you have a lot of backup in the system.
Regularity is so important for your health because without it, toxins accumulate and are recirculated in your bloodstream. Constipation can also increase your risk of hemorrhoids or fecal impaction, in which your stool must be removed manually.
The all-american diet consists of protein and starches at the same meal. Everybody does it; meat and potatoes, hot dogs in a bun, hamburger in a bun, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese. Do you see anything wrong with this diet? You do not want to mix proteins and starches in the same meal.
“Starches require an alkaline digestive medium to digest. If you put your fist in your stomach while it’s digesting steaks and all that, chances are, you wouldn’t have a hand anymore. The acid is intense… When you mix them both together – an acid-type of food and an alkaline – basic chemistry shows that they don’t digest. They neutralize. Then what happens? If the food is not digesting… it’s going through your body [undigested], throwing it into all kinds of turmoil.” – Dr. Wayne Pickering
If the food you eat is not digesting properly, not only can painful gas, heart burn, acid reflux and other stomach problems arise, but your body will also be deprived of critical nutrients.
The short definition of digestion is: you put food or liquid into your mouth, swallow it, and then your body breaks these molecules down into a size it can absorb. What your body doesn’t use is excreted as waste. These are the four processes listed above—digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination. But food is actually broken down in a number of different areas, including in your mouth, stomach, and the first and middle sections of your small intestine, called the duodenum and jejunum respectively.
The truth is, your body is infinitely wise, with a natural inborn “instinct” toward health, and by following certain natural principles, you allow your body to do what it does best, which is to maintain an equilibrium of health. Dr. Pickering’s three basic principles of health are:
You are automatically healthy, by design, and sick only by default
You don’t catch disease; you “earn” it, as it stems from “crud in the blood from being drunk with junk,” as he says
You get well by what comes out of you, not by what goes into you
The Three Commandments of Food Combination
Dr. Pickering lays out three basic commandments of eating that he recommends you not deviate from:
1. No proteins and starches at the same meal, as they neutralize each other and prevent proper digestion of either food. To ensure proper digestion of each food, wait two hours after eating a starch before eating protein. And wait three hours after eating protein before eating a starch.
2. No fruits and vegetables at the same meal. Fruits are either a single or double sugar, whereas the starches are a triple sugar. Fruits mechanically break down in your stomach, but chemically, they don’t break down until they reach the third and fourth stage of your digestive system, which are in your small intestine. Starches, again, are broken down in three different stages, starting in your mouth.
According to Dr. Pickering, this is also why it’s crucial to not eat dessert after a meal. When you do, it gets trapped in your stomach with all that other food, where it starts to rot as it’s not being chemically digested there. Therefore, eat fruit 30-60 minutes before dinner. The same applies if you want to eat another piece of fruit. Acidic fruits, such as lemons for example, also do not combine well with starches. Lemon and banana is but one example of a combination that is sure to lead to gastrointestinal upset…
Many people consider tomatoes a fruit, yet it’s commonly added to salad. Dr. Pickering classifies tomatoes as a “fruit-vegetable,” because even though they don’t have the sugar like most fruits, they’re still an acidic fruit-vegetable. As such they’re okay to combine with other vegetables. He suggests the following recipe for an excellent salad:
“Any kind of vegetable that has seed in it; for example summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, bell peppers, and okra—those are all fruit-vegetables. Your tomatoes go well with those. And since lettuce and celery have a neutral effect, as far as the breakdown of food, the celery and the lettuce combine very well with all of that. You can also add avocados.”
3. “Eat melon alone, or leave it alone, or your stomach will moan.” In short, melons do not digest well with other foods and will frequently cause problems unless consumed by itself.
Medical Drug Side Effects
This could cause a ton of trouble with digestion. So anybody who is taking prescribed or even over the counter drugs who has digestive troubles should take the time to do a little research to find out if your medical drug is causing your compromised digestion. A great book to look at is Drug Facts & Comparisons.
Popping Antacids Like Skittles
The problem with popping antacids is that acid reflux is almost always caused by a lack of hydrochloric acid, and even though the antacids alleviate the discomfort of burping up stomach acid, they actually make the situation worst in most cases. Being low in hydrochloric acid is very common these days, and if the body cannot effectively break down foods the stomach will hold on to them longer so while you keep eating meals your stomach literally backs up to where your burping it into your mouth. The answer is that most people need digestive support in the form of hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes, not an antacid. Be careful taking antacids because it is a very common way to get parasites in the body.
TIPS FOR IMPROVING DIGESTION
#1 TIP: Slow down and really chew your food!
Do you value yourself enough to be present with yourself, and present with your food? Don’t eat in stressful environments such as business meetings, allow yourself some quiet down time to enjoy your food. Some people eat so fast they don’t even taste the food! They are in such a hurry to guzzle down their food and rush off to their next appointment. All of which fall into the category of stress.
#2 TIP: Herbs!
There are a number of herbs that can be used to support digestion. Herbs you can cook with, take as a supplement, you can add to salad dressings. Some examples are ginger, garlic, licorice, cider, lime juice, peppermint, fennel seed.
#3 TIP: Digestive Enzymes!
As mentioned earlier, instead of taking an antacid you should experiment with digestive enzymes. You aren’t what you eat, but you are what you digest and absorb.
If your body does not break down and absorb nutrients optimally, the effects can go far beyond the occasional abdominal discomfort you’re feeling. In fact, it’s been said that a healthy digestive system is at the root of all health. That’s logical — your digestive tract is the basic source of the nourishment every cell in your body needs. I want you to eat the healthiest, most nutritious diet possible. But if your stomach and intestines aren’t working efficiently, even the ideal diet won’t do as much for your health. You’re not going to be able to optimally extract and absorb the chemical building blocks your body depends on. To help your digestive tract do its all-important job, you’ve got to understand some of the chemical wizardry that goes on inside your stomach and small intestine.
Chewing gum interferes with the coordinated digestive tract reflexes that I just described above. Every time you put a stick of gum in your mouth and start to chomp, your brain thinks you’re eating food. So it sends signals to your stomach, pancreas, and other digestive organs to get them ready for the digestive process. Your pancreas is fooled into manufacturing a batch of the digestive enzymes your brain thinks you’ll need. If you keep this pattern going month after month, your pancreas gets exhausted from the repeated over-production. Then it won’t be able to produce the digestive enzymes you need when you actually require them.
#5 TIP: Hydrate!
If you look at the book “Your Body’s Many Cries For Water” by F. Batmanhelidij, he explains that when we are dehydrated, and because the mucus membrane of the stomach is largely water we then can extract water from the stomach to support central nervous system and core survival functions which then decreases the functionality of the mucus membrane which can lead to irritation in the release of your own hydrochloric acid. This is so easy to fix, just drink plenty of high quality water (artesian water).
Do the pinch test. Grab a piece a skin on the top of your hand, pinch the skin then let go. It should return back to normal in less than one second. If not, this means you are dehydrated. Ideally you want to drink a couple glasses of water at least 20 minutes before each meal. Try not to drink a lot of water with your food because you can dilute the enzyme strength.
#6 TIP: Parasite Cleanse
Many digestive problems could be the results of parasites. Anybody with some type of parasite infection usually has some form of digestive disruption along with it.