Friday, January 30, 2009

5 Secrets of Excellent Digestion

By: Cindy Papp

Digestion is an important process and key to excellent health. Good digestion can help speed metabolism while poor digestion causes a sluggish metabolism and weight gain. You can help your body to strengthen this process with a little effort.

These tips are called secrets because they are not what you would normally read about to help you strengthen your own digestion. Many people want to sell plant and other kinds of enzymes. While some of these may help, using them for your entire life can prove inconvenient and expensive. Try these secret tips to help your body manufacture more of its own enzymes, which will naturally lead to excellent digestion.

Tip 1 - Don't overeat. Overeating is a main cause of digestive problems. The body can only digest a certain amount of protein at one time. What isn't digested gets stored as waste and creates toxins. In addition, your body can only digest a few types of food in one sitting. Too many different types food will require more enzymes than your body can produce at one time. This will lead to digestive problems.

Tip 2 - Always chew your food until it is completely dissolved. This really sounds easier than it is. Most of us eat on the run, only partially chewing our food. This can cause heartburn, stomach upset and bloating, among other things. Paying attention to chewing your food can have numerous health benefits.

Digestion starts in the mouth. In fact, chewing is the first stage of digestion. Most people think if you don't finish chewing your food, it will just take longer to digest in the stomach. This is not true. If you don't complete the chewing process - your stomach enzymes cannot do their job. This makes it almost impossible for the intestinal enzymes to break down the food when it finally gets there.

Your teeth must break down the food into a substance that your stomach and intestinal enzymes can then break down. Add to this the fact that your saliva is full of digestive enzymes. These enzymes start the digestion of starches. One step must be completed before the other steps can work.

There are other benefits of thoroughly chewing your food. People who take time to eat have less risk of heartburn than those who eat too fast. And - studies prove that extended chewing actually strengthens the immune system! So slow down, chew your food and enjoy.

Tip 3 - Relax before eating. This might sound like a new-age thing, but there is scientific evidence that relaxing helps strengthen digestion. Studies in Japan show that the saliva of a relaxed person is thinner and full of enzymes. This makes for stronger digestion.

The same studies show that saliva of a stressed or hurried person is thick and devoid of enzymes. This may be one reason why stress can interfere with digestive health.

Tip 4 - You can strengthen your natural digestion and help your body produce more of its own natural digestive enzymes. How can you do this without taking external enzymes?

Eat according to digestive cycles. Your body has natural, circadian rhythms like the sleeping cycle and hormonal cycle. Digestion is also a rhythm, or cycle, that is stronger at some points of the day than others. Here's how it works...

The morning is your body's natural cleansing, or flushing time. This is when your liver is supposed to dump toxins and fat for release. This should stimulate your intestines and colon to work. To work with this part of the cycle, eat fruits which are natural cleansers of the body.

Mid-day is the time when your digestive enzymes peak and are at their strongest. This is the best time to eat raw vegetables which are more difficult for most people to digest. Eating a large, raw vegetable salad with protein will strengthen your natural enzymes over a short period of time. As your body begins to expect your daily salad, it gets more enzymes ready to digest the raw veggies. Be sure to chew your salad well.

Evening is when your natural digestive enzymes are slowing down. To strengthen digestion, start your meal with a small, green salad. This will get your enzymes revving. Then complete your meal with steamed veggies and a protein serving. This is an easier food combination for your body to digest. It will not interfere with your natural enzymes, but work with them.

Tip 5 - Eat yogurt for the good bacteria. Good bacteria must thrive throughout your digestive system. It keeps the bad bacteria and other pathogens in check, which in turn strengthens not only your digestion, but your immune system as well. Be sure to eat yogurt that lists the available probiotics on the label.

It might seem like a difficult cycle when trying to correct poor digestion. You need proteins and raw veggies to add enzymes and to stimulate and create your own enzymes. But it might be difficult to break down these proteins and raw veggies if your digestion is out of whack. Try these simple tips for starters.

If you are taking digestive enzymes and prefer not to, don't just stop taking them, wean off slowly to ensure balance. The key to any natural healing process is slow, steady and consistent. Working like this can help you take control of your health.

About Author
Cindy is a Certifited Nutritional Counselor.


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