Thanksgiving is right around the corner and so are the rest of the holidays. And besides the gifts, for most of us, the holidays are about FOOD.
Now I’m sure most of the articles that you will read this season about food are going to be full of tips to keep from overeating and packing on the pounds. So hopefully this article will be unique in that I want to tell you about the importance of DIGESTING your food. Properly.
Most of us take digestion for granted. Food goes in, it taste good, it goes through, comes out the other side and with the flush of the toilet, its gone, never to be seen again. But what if this process doesn’t happen to smoothly?
For some, digestive disorders can become a daily struggle. People suffering from Irritiable Bowel Syndrome, colitis, Crohn’s, Celiac disease, or diverticulitis can experience intense pain, diarrhea or constipation if they ingest the wrong foods. Ulcer sufferers can also experience intense pain and may develop complications from internal bleeding if not treated.
But what about the rest of us? Poor digestion can takes its toll, even if you don’t have one of these conditions.
Let’s look for example at the stomach. The stomach has a pH of about 2. That’s very acidic. It’s supposed to be that acidic to be able to destroy bacteria, parasites or yeast that may contaminent the food we eat. The acidity of the stomach triggers the release of intrinsic factor, needed for B12 absorption, aids in the absorption of minerals that trigger the release of insulin and other pancreatic enzymes, and allows for the secretion of enzymes that break down proteins. That last one is key because undigested proteins that wind up in the small intestine can lead to a myriad of problems. They cause inflammation, which can then lead to leaky gut syndrome, chronic allergies, constipation and/or diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease. There’s even evidence to suggest that H. pylori infection are caused by too little stomach acid.
So really, good digestion is about having enough stomach acid. Taking a Tums or Prilosec will only make matters worse and may cause the development of ulcers (from H. Pylori infection), inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes (lack of pancreatic enzyme secretions), leaky gut syndrome, food allergies and inflammation, anemia due to B12 deficiency and disorders such as thrombocytopenia and ankylosing spondylitis because of inproper mineral absorption.
For good health this holiday season, if you overeat at a meal, instead of reaching for the Tums, may you should reach for a digestive enzyme supplement instead.
The above recommendations should not be construed as actual medical advice. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication regime.