Digestion is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food. The goal of digestion is to reduce food to molecules so small that the nutrients can be absorbed and used by the cells. It has six stages:
- Ingestion – Intake of food
- Secretion – Water, acid, buffers, enzymes
- Mixing/Propulsion – Moving the food through the GI tract
- Digestion – Breakdown of food
- Absorption – Passage of nutrients into the blood and lymph
- Defecation – Elimination of the “leftovers”
If we look at all the cool designs of our digestive systems you realize not only that it’s an interrelationship of so many things that have to be right and in sequence, but you also realize that suppressing it is not the answer: antacids, laxatives, tummy settlers, gas suppressers or anti-inflammatories are made for short term relief, not long term solutions. In fact they suppress our digestive system to the point of creating long-term problems in themselves, and that we’re not addressing the problems causing the symptoms in the first place.
- Our stomach is meant to be very acid – despite the fact that we’ve been told for years we need to reduce stomach acid we are no in the midst of an epidemic of low stomach acid. Makes no sense? Sure antacids work to put out the fire in your chest because food has forced open the valve to your stomach when too much food or undigested food with not enough stomach acid forces it to build and empty into your esophagus. While not acid enough in your stomach, it’s too acid here and burns the antacid puts out the flames but then contributes further to a less acid environment as your stomach digests this. It’s an ongoing problem unless we work out why you’re not producing enough acid in the first place.
- These valves at either end of your stomach stop the back flow of foodstuffs (and acid) and when they’re forced open, heartburn one end and ulcers at the other eventuate. Further between your small and large intestine, your illeosecal vale is forced open with food too and becomes a wondrous place for bad bugs and parasites to make their home. Ew.
- Your digestive system is series of hollow organs all joined together, meant to receive, filter good foodstuffs in and waste out. When we block this path, as in our colon when we squat we prevent a straight exit
- The chemical churn and mechanical burn we see appears throughout the digestive system – from saliva and chewing your mouth to stomach acid and the washing machine effect of your stomach through to the enzymes and catalysts with peristalsis in your small and large intestines. We need each working to the best of their ability of something’s got to give!
Digestion necessarily occurs north to south, from tongue to tail. Indigestion, or digestive dysfunction of any kind, also occurs in the same direction. It’s well and good and relieving to help symptoms that are causing us pain at any one level as a short term solution but we really need to address root causes as north as we can go if we want to ensure good digestion, which is really good energy for our everyday activities, even good immunity for our long life.
Digestive strengthening is a seasonal approach fitbynature offers to help you help yourself to everyday energy and a long life of health.