IMPROVING YOUR DIGESTION
Like other animals, we spend our physical lives processing organic matter for waste. How good we are at it determines our energy level, longevity and state of body and mind. A lack of nutrients and the wrong kind of food can mean faulty digestion, faulty absorption, abnormal stomach reactions including bloating and inflammation, stomach infections and poor elimination. The knock-on effect disrupt every body system-immunity, the brain and nervous system, hormonal balance, and our ability to detoxify.
STOMACH ACID-THE RIGHT BALANCE
Digestion starts in the senses. The sight and smell of food initiate chemical reactions that get us ready to assimilate and digest food. Chewing is particularly important bc messages are sent to the digestive tract to prepare different enzyme secretions according to what is in the mouth.
Food then passes into the stomach, where large proteins are broken down into smaller groups of amino acids. The first step in protein digestion is carried out by hydrochloric acid released from the stomach wall, which is dependent on zinc. Hydrochloric acid prodution often declines in old age, as do zinc levels. The consequence is indigestion, particulary noticeable after high protein meals, and the likelihood of developing food allergies bc undigested large food molecules are more likely to stimulate allergic reactions in the small intestine.
The nutritional solution for too little stomach acid is to take a digestive supplement containing betaine hydrochloride, plus at least 15 mg of zinc in an easily absorbable form such as zinc citrate. Some people, however, produce too much stomach acid, a possible cause of "acid stomach," experienced as indigestion and a burning sensation. This is usually rectified by avoiding acid-forming and irritaing foods and drinks; alcohol, coffee, tea, and aspirin all irritate the stomach wall. Meat, fish, eggs, and other concentrated proteins stimulate acid production and can aggravate over-acidity. The minerals calcium and magnesium are particularly alkaline and tend to have a calming effect on people suffering from excess acidity.
The stomach also produces a range of enzymes, collectively called proteases, to break down protein. Protein digestion continues in the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, into which flow digestive enzymes produced in the pancreas and liver. The pancreas is the primary organ of digestion, and special cells in it produce enzymes for breaking down carbs, fats, and proteins. These enzymes are called amylase, lipase and, once again, proteases. Again, there are many different kinds.
The production of digestive enzymes depends on many micronutrients, especially vitamin B-6. Sub-optimum nutrition oftern resuls in sub-optimum digestion, which in turn creates sub-optimum absorption so that nutritional intake gets worse and worse. The consequence is undigested food in the small intestine, which encourages the proliferation of the wrong kind of bacteria and other micro-organisms; symptoms can include flatulence, abdominal pain, and bloating.
The easiest way to correct this kind of problem is to take a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement with each meal. This can make an immediate difference. You can test the effects of these enzyme supplements by crushing them and stirring them into a thick porridge made from oars and water. If the product is good, the pooridge will become liquid in thirty minutes. While there is no harm in taking digestive enzymes on an on-going basis, correcting their levels with supplements paves way for increasing nutrient levels in the body. Once this is achieved the digestion often improves of its own accord and the supplements may no longer be necessary.
Before being digested, fat has to be specially prepared. This is achieved by a substance called bile, produced by the liver an stored in the gall bladder. Bile contains lecithin, which helps to emulsify large fat particles and turn them into tiny particles with a greater surface area for the fat-splitting lipase enzyme to work on. Supplementing lecithin as granules or capsules improves emulsification and can help people with a poor tolerance of fat-for instance, anyone who has had their gall bladder removed and cannot therefore store bile.
While indigestion can be caused by a lack or excess of stomach acid, or a lack of digestive enzymes, these are not the only possibilities. Many of the foods we eat irritate and damage our very sensitive and vitally important interface with the inside world. One such food is whear, in which a protein called gluten contains gliadin, a known intestinal irritant. A small amount may be tolerated, but most people consume wheat in the form of bread, cereals, cakes, pastry, and pasta at least three times a day. Mondern wheat is very high in gluten, and baking increases its ability to react with the stomach wall. In cases of sever gluten sensitivity the villi, the timy protrusions that make up the small intestine, get completely worn away. For those with a gluten sensitivity, all foods containing gluten must be avoided. Rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat are fine as all are gluten free.
The best way to get a stomach infection is to eat plenty of sugar, suffer from indifestion, and have regular courses of antibiotics. There are around three hundred different strains of bacteria in the stomach, most of which are essential. They protect us from harmful bacteria, viruses, and other dangerous organisms. Antibiotics wipe out all the bacteria in the body, good as well as bad, and are best not taken unless absolutely necessary. If the stomach contains the wrong kind of bacteria, or perhaps overgrowth of a yeast-like substance called candida albicans, a high sugar diet, including fruit can exacerbate the problem. Feelings of intoxication, drowsiness and bloating after consuming sugar are good indicators of a potential imbalance. In the same way that yeast ferments sugar into alcohol, it is possible to check for the presence of yeast-like organisms by testing the blood, eating sugar then testing the blood again for the presence of alcohol.
A number of powerful natural remedies have been proben to help with stomach infections. Caprylic acid, extracted from coconuts, is anti-fungal. Grapefruit seed extract, taken as drops in water, is anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial but does not destroy all the essential strains of bacteria. Even so, it is best not taken with meals. Another strategy, called probiotics, aims to improve the strength of the beneficieal bacteria in the stomach. This is easily achieved by short (one month) courses of supplements. Since bacteria are fragile it is best to choose a high quality product containing acidophilus and bifidus bacteria. Some probiotic supplements are cultivated from strains the occur in the stomach, such as acidophilus salivarius and bifidus infantis.
PREVENTING FLATULENCE AND CONSTIPATION
Indigestion is a cause of flatulence, as is eating foods whcih contain indigestible carbs. These carbs are found particularly in beans and vegetables. The enzyme alpha-galactosidase breaks down these indigestible carbs and reduces flatulence, and is available as a supplement.
Constipation has many causes, the most common of which is hard fecal matter. Natural foods stay soft in the difestive tract bc they contain fibers which absorb water and expand. Fruit and vegetables naturally contain a lot of absorb water and provide soft moist bulk for the digestive tract. Meats, cheese, eggs, refined grains and wheat (bc of its gluten content) are all constipating. While it should not be necessary to add fiber, oat fiber has particular benefits in that it has been shown to help eliminate excess cholesterol and slow-down carb uptake, as well as preventing constipation. It is naturally present in oats, which are best soaked and eaten cold.
Some foods and nutrients exert a mild laxative effect. These include linseed, which can be ground and sprinkled on food, prunes, and vitamin C in doses of several grams. But most laxatives, even natural ones, are gastro-intestinal irritants and , while they work, they do not solve the underlying issue. A new kind of laxative, fructo oligosaccharides, supplied in powder form, is a complex carb that helps keep moisture in the stomach and stimulates production of healthy lactic acid bacteria. While the results are not quite so rapid, this is a far preferable way of dealing with constipation. Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, plus drinking lots of water is essential as well.
For some people long-term constipation can result in physical blockages and distension of the bowel. Dietay changes help byt are not always enough to clean out the intestinal tract. A combination of particular fibers, such as psyllium husks, beet fiber, oat fiber and herbs, will assist in loosening up old fecal matter. These are available via colon cleansing formulas, consisting of powders and capsules to be taken over a one- to three-month period. Another helpful treatment is colonic therapy: water is passed into the bowel by enema under pressure and this, together with abdominal massage, helps to release and remove fecal material. Exercise that stimulates the abdominal area also helps to improve digestion, as do breathing exercises that relas the abdomen. It is a natural refles of the body to stop digesting in times of stress.
Improving difestionis the cornerstone to good health. Energy levels improve, the skin becomes softer and clearer, body odor reduces and the immune system is strengthened. The trick is to work from the top down, first ensuring good digestion, then good absorption, and finally good elimination. If you have any specific digestive difficulties the best person to see is a nutrition consultant. With current testin methods and recent advances in natural treatments most digestive problems can be solved with relative ease, little expense, and no need for invasive tests or treatment.
ugh, that was long excuse all mistakes.