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Foods That Aid Your Digestion

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Indigestion

Digestion is one of the most complicated processes in the human system. It has to deal with all that we care to put in our mouth. A brief idea of what digestion is all about will tell us a lot about foods that aid digestion and the why’s and how’s of eating.

The food we eat has to be broken down into small particles so that our system can absorb them and send them on to do their job. This process of breaking down the food in to molecules is a broad definition of digestion.

This breakdown is chemical and mechanical in nature. The only things that our body can absorb without breaking down are water, salt, and simple sugars like glucose. There are special proteins called enzymes in our body that help this breakdown process.

The digestive process

This starts when you put food in your mouth. Chewing is very essential, as the saliva in our mouth provides the enzymes that aid the breakdown of carbohydrates. The chewed food is then sent down to the stomach.

The walls of the stomach are muscular and churn the food into even tinier particles. Gastric acid is released along with an enzyme called pepsin, which boosts the food breakdown. The food is now converted into a semi-fluid called chyme when it gets sent to the start of the small intestine or duodenum.

Here, enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver break down the fats and proteins. From here, food gets pushed, and absorption takes place. Undigested food, fiber, etc. is sent to the large intestine and colon for exit from the body.

This entire process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on the person’s constitution and metabolic rate.

Different rates for different foods:

  • Simple sugars digest in minutes, as no breakdown is required
  • Starch needs an hour plus
  • Fat takes 4-6 hours
  • Meat takes longer and is dependent on how much you eat. Small amounts are digested faster than large quantities.

Foods that aid your digestion

There are foods that help the digestive process, and then there are foods that complicate this process and thus affect overall health:

      Fiber rich food – A diet rich in fiber keeps your digestive system functioning properly. Not only does this mean you remain healthy, but that you also have energy to take you through your day without feeling tired.

      According to experts, high fiber food should be introduced slowly, and there should be a balance in what you eat. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water to flush waste from the body should be your mantra for a healthy digestive system. Fiber rich foods include:

      • Whole Grains
      • Vegetables
      • Fruits
      • Legumes
      • Nuts
          Fermented foods – Fermented foods give your digestion a leg-up because these are pre-digested to an extent. The bacteria present in the above foods have done most of the breaking down of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, so your digestive system has a little less to do. These foods include:
          • Yogurt
          • Pickles
          • Sourdough Bread
          • Aged Cheese
          • Miso
          • Kimchi
          • Sauerkraut
          • Tea
          • Chocolate
            Spices – Spices increase salivation, which is the first step to digestion. Spices in food also increase bile production to some extent, which helps the body break down and absorb fats. They include:

          • Coriander
          • Cumin
          • Mustard
          • Garlic
          • Cinnamon
          • Paprika
          • Cayenne
          • Black Pepper
              Herbs – Herbs work well to fight environmental toxins. You need very little of these- just a sprinkle on your food acts as a cleansing agent and as a natural laxative to rid your system of toxins. Some of the herbs that are good for digestion are:
              • Peppermint
              • Ginger
              • Fennel
              • Clove
              • Coriander
              • Wormwood
              • Rosehips
              • Spirulina
              • Aloe
                  Olive oil helps stimulate digestion and works wonders for an upset stomach. It is the perfect way to give your body the monosaturated fatty acids and antioxidants it needs. One tablespoon is all you need to sort out an out-of-sync digestive system. Flaxseed oil has the same benefits.
                      Lemons activate the salivary glands. The juice helps the digestive system break down essential minerals in the food like calcium. It is rich in vitamin C as well.
                          Probiotic supplements are very essential for digestion. This is because at times, the probiotics found in food are not enough to keep the digestive system going. Supplements that contain acidophilus and bifidobacteria are available in health food stores. Some conditions that occur due to a malfunctioning digestive process are:
                          • Irritable bowel syndrome
                          • Diarrhea
                          • Gas, bloating, flatulence
                          • Recurring vaginal yeast infections
                          • Bad breath

                          In addition the foods you eat, the following factors also affect your digestion process:

                          • Chewing
                          • Smaller bites
                          • Water intake
                          • Reasonable gaps between eating
                          • Eat slow and taste the myriad flavors of what you are eating
                          • Don’t have cold liquids while eating. Warm drinks make digestion easier.

                          Put all of the above tips to good use, and you will find that irrespective of what you eat, your digestion can handle it. All you need is to do is put some sense and sensibility to your dietary habits!

                          Ref links

                          http://altmedicine.about.com/od/optimumhealthessentials/a/Tips_Digestion.htm

                          http://www.alternative-healthzine.com/html/0300_3.html

                          http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200901/1232732330.html


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                          Larry & Oksana Ostrovsky, founders of BeWellBuzz, are Life Upgrade Coaches committed to helping you navigate through the latest natural health and personal development information to a destination of optimal wellness. The goal of this site is to be a catalyst in creating and spreading the Buzz, dispelling dangerous myths, society norms and helping you elevate your spirit, do more, live better, and think deeper one day at a time.

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                          comments

                          • andrew

                            thanks bewellbuzz/karen

                            not sure how effective it is but organic triphala may help digestion. Use your intuition and body wisdom to confirm if it ok for you

                          • IBS Symptoms

                            I personally found that the best way to deal with IBS and to cure the symptoms naturally is to
                            1) get rid of stress. If you’re stressed, your parasympathetic nervous system which governs your digestive system can’t work properly.
                            And
                            2) Eat right. A low starch diet has given me great results! I literally felt better the next day after leaving the things out that made me sick. Kindo f obvious, but you have to find out about these things first.

                          • Margarite Curt

                            I don’t always agree with you (thank God, that would be boring), but I have to tell you you are a great writer.

                          • Elsie Barton

                            hello thanks for the blog.

                          • yeast

                            Hopefully this info will help me over time, its all finally generating sense.

                          • Fil de guzman

                            THANKS FOR THIS INFO

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                          As with any advice on health, life or anything, put it to the test for yourself. If it doesn’t sound right, research it, try it or seek guidance. If it works for you and lets you live well, do it. Enlighten others, but don’t force your methods on them. Give them the tools to decide for themselves and let them choose, just as you did.

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