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How to Properly Digest Your Food

Have you thought how about how you digest your food lately? Simplistically explained nutrition begins with you ingesting the proper food, breaking the nutrients out of food, and then biochemically absorbing the nutrients. It’s a complex process that can be improved with a few simple steps.

Chewing begins the process. So you need good teeth, careful bites, thoughtful eating, no gulping down lunch! Take time.

The stomach acid is the next critical step. So avoid overuse of antacids and NSAIDs that can disrupt the chemistry of our stomach.

And then the enzymes of the pancreases and the small intestine break down the major components of food including your cars, proteins and fats. If the fibers from food are not well broken down they cannot be processes in the next sequence of the steps.

Finally the nutrients are ready to be absorbed. If you get to this step and don’t absorb the nutrients you will never get the full benefit from your food even if you eat well. In addition to unpleasant side effects like gas the metabolism consequences can be diarrhea, weight loss, irritable bowel symptoms, and loss of bone mass.

The gut also needs to be able to transport the food smoothly through the whole extent of your bowels. Thus, exercise and avoiding bloating and constipation are ways to improve this step.

Confounding factors that can lead to gas include gallstones, smoking, poorly controlled diabetes or pre-diabetes and cystic fibrosis. Nutritional confounding factors Even if the breakdown has been adequate there may still be high levels of food sitting and not digested.

Plants have some biproducts that aid in the digestion of other foods. For instance the bromelain of pineapple is one such compound that aids digestion.

And what food sits in the intestine without being absorbed may begin to ferment by the bacteria of the gut. This process can lead to the flourishing of bad gut bacteria. The byproduct of fermentation is abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, flatulence, and other common symptoms of GI upset.

Most often we recommend correcting the small mistakes you make that interfere with digestion.

It is possible to be more scientific with the assessments, and the errors in the food processing of any of these steps can be detected with a comprehensive analysis through blood and urine tests. Once the data is obtained the nutritional confounding variables are usually reasonably easy to fix.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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