Your digestive system is a complicated process that your body carries out continually. Improve your digestion by eating the correct foods and treating your digestive system well …
Eat a Varied Diet & Improve Your Digestion
Digestion is a complicated process that your body carries out continually, during every minute of every day, whether you’re sleeping, working, exercising, or resting.
Stress, interferes with your digestive process, slowing it down or even halting it altogether. It you feel stressed – Try our 48hr De-Stress
During your fight or flight response to danger, your digestive system shuts down to allow energy to be diverted to where it is more immediately required, either for movement, for attack or for defence.
Understanding this helps you improve your digestion and shows you how your whole digestive system is put under pressure when you eat on the run.
The type of meals that you eat can either help or hinder your digestive process. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and A-grade protein improve your digestion.
A diet high in saturated fats, meat, sugar, caffeine and convenience foods slows your digestion, affecting your general health and reducing your absorption of essential nutrients.
Improve Your Digestion, keep it happy
Feed it… Care for it… Keep it on your side.
In order to understand digestive disorders and to improve your digestion, you need to know how your digestive system works.
Your digestion process starts with your very first thought or smell of food.
- Your brain sends messages to the salivary glands in your mouth telling them to release additional digestive enzymes. This is why you salivate more at the thought of food.
- These digestive enzymes are both abundant and powerful, quickly reducing most carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, grains and cereals, to a pulp when combined with the chewing process
Meat, nuts and other proteins are more difficult for your digestion to break down, requiring stronger, more acidic enzymes, such as those found in your stomach.
Thorough chewing is important for crushing solid food particles, increasing the production of salivary enzymes and keeping your teeth clean and sharp. Most of us do not chew our food properly, placing more strain on your digestive system and increasing the likelihood of heartburn and indigestion.
Your stomach is then pivotal to the whole of your digestive process. It sits behind your ribcage, to the centre of your breastbone and no two peoples stomachs are the same, as posture, size and height all influence its shape.
- Sitting upright while eating ensures that your stomach has adequate space to perform its functions and improves your digestion.
- Your stomach releases hydrochloric acid, and is the most acidic environment in your body. (Abundant mucus is also produced, to protect your stomach lining from being damaged by its own acid.)
- This acid gets to work on proteins, while your complex arrangement of stomach muscles contract and relax to churn your food around until it is broken down into chyme.
Factors Affecting Your Digestion …
Several factors can adversely affect your production of hydrochloric acid. Such as increasing age, recreational and prescription drugs, smoking, alcohol and stress.
This lack of acid can have long-lasting negative effects on your digestion and absorption, causing many obvious (and some seemingly unrelated) health problems.
The hydrochloric acid in your stomach also kills off any ingested bacteria and parasites. It is the first line of defence for your complex immune system, that lines the entire length of your digestive tract.
From the age of about 30 onwards, your acid levels tend to diminish, which explains the increasing amount of digestive imbalances and food intolerances that occur as we get older, and why we you need to work to improve your digestion.
A very aggressive bacteria, Helicobactor pylori, can survive in this acidic environment and if untreated can cause damage, and therefore requires rigorous antibiotic treatment.
Your stomach also produces digestive enzymes.
- Pepsin breaks down protein foods, making them easier for your intestines to digest. (Vitamin B6 is required to help this process.)
- Lipase starts off the process of digesting fats.
The final process that occurs in the stomach is the binding of vitamin B12, an extrinsic factor, to the intrinsic factor produced in the stomach, allowing it to be absorbed by your intestines.
Vitamin B12 is vital for energy production, growth, and the formation of blood and cells.
As we age our levels of intrinsic factor fall, affecting our absorption of the vitamin B12 and increasing the possibility of pernicious anaemia (vitamin B12 deficiency). That’s why doctors sometimes give B12 injections to people who have been ill, the elderly, or those who are recuperating from surgery.
Hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes will also boost your stomachs own production of vitamin B12, to improve your digestion and ensure better protein digestion.
Foods that increase your Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 levels…
- Sunflower Seeds
- Kidney Beans
- Cottage Cheese
Improve your digestion …
Keep your digestive system functioning, use supplements Rich in Vitamin B12. Include foods that make up a healthy diet, with healthy fats, low sugar and high live plant or vegetable sources. Foods high in fibre. Use whole grains instead of overly processed foods and try to maintain a regular daily schedule of three balanced meals per day or five to six small meals per day.
To improve your digestion, try not to skip meals, avoid heavy meals late at night, avoid allergy foods, get regular exercise and above all, try to keep your stress levels low It you feel stressed – Try our 48hr De-Stress