If you’ve ever had heartburn, gas, or bloating, you’ve suffered from inadequate digestion, and who among hasn’t suffered these maladies more often than not? Quite often these annoying and sometimes chronic symptoms occur when the foods you eat are not broken down well enough in your mouth and stomach. This prevents you from absorbing the nutrients your body so desperately needs through the wall of your small intestine, and sends your stomach and intestines into overdrive trying to get chunks of undigested food out of your system.
What causes inadequate digestion and what can you do about it? You’re about to ﬁnd out. (And don’t worry—you won’t be relying on your acid suppressing medications much longer!)
Mom always said, “Chew your food!”
The ﬁrst step to digesting foods properly is… chewing. Just like mom said, right? It may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t chew their food completely and then suffer the digestive consequences. It’s also important to know that, the older you are, the more you should chew. As we age a lot of our bodily processes slow a bit, so chewing a little longer helps an older digestive system do its job better.
For example, take me and my son. My son is just ten years old and only needs to chew about ten times for every bite of solid food. However, I try to chew 25 times or more. By doing this, I have better digestion and less gas.
If you don’t chew well, the bacteria in your digestive tract feeds on the chunks of undigested food. In turn, this causes gas. Take eating an apple, for example. If you swallow big chunks of apple, in spite of mouth enzymes and stomach acids that try to erode it, a large part of it gets all the way to your small intestine.
Contrast this with an apple that gets chewed into mush. It doesn’t sit rotting in your stomach causing gas and discomfort. Instead, it gets all the way into your bloodstream without a problem through healthy digestion, absorption, and then assimilation into your body cells. You feel better and your body reaps the benefits of the nutrition that was easily absorbed through your colon walls.
The importance of digestive enzymes
How do nutrients from healthy, whole foods get into your blood to fuel every cell in your body? Firstly, the foods you eat must be broken down to microscopic size, allowing absorption into your blood stream. This absorption occurs through the mucosa. This thin layer of intestinal cells takes in nutrients, repels bigger particles, and even promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.
It all starts in the mouth. Chewing helps break these particles down to proper size, but digestive enzymes are essential as well. Some enzymes are present in your mouth, and help break down foods like bread and convert them into sugars. This all occurs before the food even gets to your stomach.
The stomach also contributes a number of digestive enzymes like gastrin (which stimulates stomach acid secretion) and pepsin (which breaks down proteins). However, these substances need to be activated and released into your digestive system.
This can be a problem when you eat reﬁned or processed foods that don’t contain enough natural ﬁber. Sufﬁcient digestive enzymes aren’t released. Stomach acids are produced less because the body “thinks” you need them less. And the result? Gas and bloating from undigested food!
Here’s what happens. Bacteria feeds on these chunks of food, creating gas by fermenting carbohydrates, putrefying proteins, and turning fats rancid. Plus, crucial nutrients haven’t reached your cells where they are needed. Instead, they’re wasting away in your digestive tract.
Why you must eat natural whole foods
Even if digestion and absorption occur as planned, what about the assimilation of nutrients? Is the food you’re eating getting assimilated into your cells? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Unfortunately, when you eat reﬁned and processed foods, many of the food molecules absorbed into your cells are synthetic. They are not the natural foods your cells need for optimal health because the more a food is processed, the less it resembles its original nutrient-rich state. Once these unhealthy molecules enter your cells, they start to disrupt your cellular function.
This can cause a wide variety of health problems. You know,”Garbage in, garbage out!” Another old-fashioned saying mom probobly shared with you. There’s a reason she’s “the mom.”
Natural foods have the opposite effect. Consider the omega3 fatty acids found in ﬁsh oil, olive oil, and ﬂax oil. Once they’re assimilated into your cells, these healing substances soothe inﬂammation, build healthy tissue, balance pH, and reduce chronic illness across the board.
The take home message? You can’t eat packaged, processed, and reﬁned foods and expect to be healthy. Fill your diet with nutrient rich whole foods instead. Your body will thank you!
Take digestive enzymes for heartburn relief
When you eat processed or reﬁned foods, it can cause your stomach acid to get too low during meals. This, in turn, can cause an overproduction of acid between meals, which leads to the heartburn that is so common in our society. And you’ll be amazed how common it is!
According to scientiﬁc studies, heartburn affects a whopping 5% to 7% of adults worldwide. It can negatively affect your work, sleep, exercise, social life, and even your intimate relationship.
For many people, the simple solution is… digestive enzymes with every meal. Since digestive enzymes contain natural stomach acid, your stomach won’t overproduce acid after meals as a response to low acid. This can eliminate your heartburn. And once your acid levels are back in balance (sometimes in as little as two months), you won’t need acid suppressing drugs anymore.
Digestive health means overall health
If you or a loved one has allergies, asthma, IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and even inﬂammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, you are likely underdigesting your food.
One reason this occurs is because lack of stomach acid leads to incomplete digestion of proteins. This can trigger allergic reactions and even chronic hypersensitivity in your immune system. You can improve this problem by taking betaine hydrochloride (betaine HCL) with every meal.
Another reason for underdigestion is insufﬁcient digestive enzymes.You need proteases, lipases, and amylases to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, respectively. These enzymes also support healthy bacteria to aid in digestion and heal your intestinal mucosa.
That’s why it’s so important to eat raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They’re loaded with digestive enzymes your body can utilize! Eat as many of them as you can comfortably eat. Start slowly if you are not in the habit of eatin a lot of fresh fruit. If these foods make you bloat, then take digestive enzyme supplements instead. Or do both!
Ultimately, the goal is a dynamic interplay between stomach acid, healthy bacteria, and digestive enzymes, combined with a fully functioning lining in your small intestine. When you have all these things working in tandem, the result is powerful, healthy digestion!
Safe, natural, and effective digestive aids
The amino acid Lglutamate (glutamic acid) activates the digestive enzyme pepsin in your stomach, which helps your body assimilate protein. Taken along with betaine hydrochloride (betaine HCL), Lglutamate can also help ensure a proper pH for your entire digestive tract.
But these aren’t the only good things about Lglutamate. This amino acid is also the single largest contributor to intestinal energy and absolutely essential for learning and memory.
Another powerful digestive aid is gentian root. This herb promotes the ﬂow of saliva, gastric juices, and bile. In Germany, it’s an approved medicine for loss of appetite, fullness, and ﬂatulence. In Britain, it’s recommended for acid stomach, healthy G.I. function, and nausea.
In conclusion, you can put an end to your heartburn, gas, and bloating. I’ve seen it happen in almost all of my patients who 1) chew properly at mealtime; 2) stop eating junk food; 3) eat whole foods predominantly; and 4) take digestive enzymes and betaine HCL. These steps will help you reverse your over acidity and return you to a normal stomach and small intestine.
And the best part of all is… you can throw away your acidsuppressing drugs forever!