You Are What You
A often heard expression is: “you are what you eat”. There is a truth in it, but it actually has to be way more specific. The essential part of you ingesting food, is that it will get digested and used in your body to fuel your body. So you have not only focus on your nutrition, but also how to make the best use of it.
You might think: “what is the fuzz about the specifics of absorbing?” Well, most people eat their food (regardless if it is healthy or unhealthy), but with common practices nowadays there is a high chance that a large portion of the food will not be absorbed. I want to give you two tips to improve this for you.
Little disclaimer here: I am a Personal Trainer and not a nutritionist. Nevertheless these tips do not harm you, so they might be a good thing to give a try.
Digestion in a nutshell
The digestion in a human body is a complex process that includes the mouth, stomach, small and large intestine. It is a complete process with involvement of enzyms, hormones, bile (gall), pancreatic fluids and a whole lot of other processes that happen in different stages or phases. The digestion is roughly to be divided into three phases: cephalic phase, gastric phase and intestinal phase. The cephalic phase actually starts already with the thought, sight, smell or taste of food. This is for instance the reason you can have a mouthwatering sensation by the thought, sight or smell of food already. But roughly the phases are divided in the eating (cephalic phase), processing in the stomach (gastric phase) and processing in the intestines (intestinal phase).
First step to improve your digestion
As mentioned the first part of digestion starts in the mouth, the cephalic phase. The thought, sight and or smell already makes you release saliva. When you chew, your body will release even more saliva. In the saliva there are digestive enzymes and this is why the digestion starts here. Nevertheless it is also the first bit in which most people create a problem with their digestion. It is so important to chew properly when eating. One of the best ways to improve this is to chew on your food super-consiously. As written before it is important to sit down while eating (LINK), but you can also lay down your utensils after each bite and be fully aware of your chewing. It sounds very akward (and it is in the beginning), but it will help your digestive system. I need to focus on this part myself as well, since it is so easy to fall in the trap to “be busy” and rush your meals.
Another tip to improve your digestion
Even though there are many people who take medication against stomach acid, low levels of stomach acid is a very common issue. If you experience for instance heartburn, this is most likely a cause of a low level of stomach acid. This stomach acid made up from Pepsin and Hydrochloric Acid (HCI). The production of the latter is an issue with a lot of people. HCI plays an important role in the break down of proteins, activation of hormones and enzymes, and protection of the gut against bacterial overgrowth (2).
Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is an important gastric secretion that enables the body to break down proteins, activate important enzymes and hormones, and protect against bacterial overgrowth in the gut. The nice thing is that lemon and lime juice are of a similar chemical structure as HCI (4). So besides the vitamin C content there are other benefits in lime or lemon juice.
Your body also has some glands on your kidneys, called adrenal glands. These produce different types of hormones which the body uses in different settings. Two specific types of these hormones are for instances used to regulate metabolism. In this setting also quite an essential part of the whole digestive system.
So, a good way to start the day is with a glass of water (preferably room temperature) with a squeeze of fresh lime (or lemon) juice. On top of it, you can add a ¼ teaspoon of colourful salt (Hawaiian, Himalayan, Celtic salt or something similar). Tablesalt will not bring any benefits, but your adrenals will benefit since they depend on sodium to function. Having a glass like this in the morning will help your stomach acid levels (both in replenishing and helping the body produce its on its own) and your adrenals will be better able to produce all the required hormones throughout the day.
Time to give these tips a try!
I can tell you it is well worth it to give either tip a try. It defenitely will not harm you, so just give it a go! Feel free to comment and leave a reaction if you have tried these tips and let us know what it did for you!
Start now, not tomorrow!