Gain the full nutrient benefit
from a healthy diet
with digestive health:
A Healthy Balance
Nourishing Your Body. Tuning Your Life Force.
Digestive health maintenance. It helps to comprehend all the steps that happen when you eat foods, and how these steps provide the nutrients your body needs for energy, to build strong bodies and maintain A Healthy Balance.
Food that you consume cannot directly provide energy, vitamins or minerals to your body. They must be processed and broken down or transformed through physical and chemical reactions in your digestive tract.
Most foods that you consume remain in your digestive system for two to three days. As they move through this linked system critical actions must occur at just the right point. Only when nutrients have been absorbed through the walls of your stomach or intestines can they begin to benefit your other organs. Otherwise, they just pass on through.
Once absorbed, your bloodstream circulates specific nutrients to the needed areas of your body where they can be utilized for energy or assisting with maintaining cellular health.
Chewing your food impacts digestive health
Think of the food you eat as a long rope. Bites of food are very large (from the perspective of molecules) and are twisted and linked together like a rope. The first step in digestion is the grinding action of you teeth that rips and tears the food fibers apart, much like unraveling the strings that make up a rope. Chewing chops up the strings into shorter strands.
This unraveling breaks the food down into much smaller bits and expands significantly the surface area of the food. This is critical since the enzymes and acids that transform food into nutrients can only work on exposed areas of the food particles.
If you don’t adequately chew your foods, you significantly increase the work the rest of your digestive system needs to do and reduce the total nutrients that can be extracted.
Finally, the more you chew your foods the more enjoyment you gain from their distinctive flavors and textures. Savor the flavor by chewing heartily.
This short tube connects the mouth and the stomach. Importantly, it keeps the digestive acids that naturally occur in your stomach out of your mouth. In healthy individuals, your esophagus is a one way street. However, some people experience acid reflux where acids escape the stomach area causing heartburn and foul tastes.
There are two primary functions of the stomach. Foremost acids and enzymes in the stomach begin to break down proteins into peptides (very small protein chains) or hydrolyze the fats. After the proper processing time, your stomach releases the food-acid-enzyme mixture into your small intestine.
The second critical function is that acids in the stomach begin to decontaminate the toxins and unhealthy bacteria that have been ingested with your meals.
Accomplishing both of these critical functions is essential to a healthy balanced digestive tract and digestive health.
The small intestine
This long tube is where over 90% of the absorption of nutrients occur. Some food particles are quick to give up their nutrients, others take several hours. Everything from the digested macronutrients of fats, proteins and starches as well as the micronutrients of vitamins and minerals move into your blood stream. In addition, about 10 liters of water are absorbed here each day.
The large intestine
Complex carbohydrates and fiber resist enzyme degradation in the small intestine and move into the large intestine for fermentation. This organ was not designed for significant absorption. Rather, food stays here from one to three days where the ecosystem of probiotic bacteria are able to transform elements of these food particles into nutrients that enhance your colon's digestive health. A healthy balance of microflora in the colon is important for digestion.
The fiber than remains after fermentation binds up toxins and other waste mater and is excreted.
What actions can you take to support digestive health?
Many different aspects of digestion contribute to well-being and maximize the absorption of nutrients from the food you consume for a healthy balance of nutrients.
- Chew thoroughly to break apart large food particles and expand the surface areas for saliva and enzymes to begin digestion. If you don’t adequately chew your food too much will pass into the large intestine where it supports the overgrowth of bacteria and gassy indigestion.
- Ensure you maintain adequate acids and enzymes in your stomach to digest the proteins. Over use of antacids reduces the natural production of acids which are necessary for digestion. Consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables support production of the proper enzymes for stomach health.
- Identify and eliminate food allergens. Your immune system automatically attacks foods that it is sensitive to with antibodies, and this can cause inflammation in the intestines or lead to a condition called “leaky gut”. The most common allergens include peanuts, wheat gluten, soy, milk proteins and shellfish. Eliminating foods which you are intolerant to can provide a healing environment to your digestive system.
- Keep your intestines healthy. There is a natural protective layer that covers the cells in your intestines, keeping the stomach acid from eating your tissues. Alcohol and aspirin can reduce this layer, while fresh vegetables, citrus fruits and spices can help rebuild it. Of particular importance to intestine health is vitamin A which is typically found in red and orange vegetables.
- Support the growth of probiotic bacteria. Your colon health is dependent on healthy abundance of “good” bacteria that can keep the pathogenic bacteria from growing. A healthy balance. The foods that supply probiotic bacteria include yogurt and kefir.
- Learn to deal effectively with stress, especially right after meals. Stress causes normal digestive activity to stop or reduce its function. While you may have sufficient nutrients in your digestive track, without proper function they just pass on through. Eating healthy meals at regular intervals helps reduce stress and improves digestive health, as well as some foods like herbal teas.
Maintaining digestive health is one of the most critical aspects of achieving a healthy nutritional balance because appropriate diet and supplementation can't fully impact your bodies if they are not absorbed.
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