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Deciphering Your Digestion
You are what you eat. It’s an age-old adage, but nowhere does this ring truer than when we focus on our digestive health. A healthy digestive system is integral to our overall health; it’s here that we incorporate our environment into our body through food. The twists and turns of our roughly thirty feet of intestines miraculously manages to absorb the nutrients our bodies need to function and thrive, while keeping the bad stuff out. This is a big job and it is happening constantly inside our bodies. We can all take steps to enhance the vitality of our digestive tract. Do you suffer from common digestive problems such as heartburn or bloating? Are you looking for tips to enhance your inner ecosystem? Are you aware of the powerful influence our gut health plays in our mental health? Read on to de-mystify digestive health and discover simple tips, including whole foods, natural health products, and exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to take your digestive health to the next level. What is digestion? Digestion is the physical and chemical process our body uses to break down food and absorb essential nutrients. It starts as soon as food enters your mouth, where chewing mixes enzymes in our saliva with food contents. The stomach, with an acidic environment so harsh that its mucous lining is replaced every two weeks, continues the chemical breakdown of food before passing it into the small intestine; home to a turbulent soup of alkaline enzymes. It’s here, in this roughly twenty-three foot tube, that ninety-five percent of the nutrients in our food are absorbed; proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. The large intestine is then called into action, where a robust yet finicky group of approximately one hundred trillion bacteria ferment any remaining fibres and carbohydrates. This is also the key site for re-absorption of the ten litres of digestive juices we produce each day, until the remaining waste is ultimately eliminated. This entire turbulent process can take anywhere from one to four days. With such a long and varied path, it is no surprise that sometimes things can be thrown out of balance, leading to common digestive problems including heartburn, bloating, gas or intestinal discomfort. You can find some natural solutions to these common digestive ailments at www.chfa.ca/digestive-health/common-digestive-problems-and-solutions/. Digestive health is essential to our overall health. Being attentive to our digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive. Simple steps can be taken to reduce your likelihood of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem. Here are CHFA’s top five tips for enhancing your digestive health:
- Consume plenty of fibre rich whole foods.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
- Add a probiotic supplement to your regime for microbial health.
- Exercise to stimulate healthy intestinal muscle contractions.
- Drink plenty of fluids – we make about 10 litres of digestive juices each day! Drinking fluids keeps our digestive tract lubricated and healthy.