This week in my Nutrition Consultant program, we are learning about the digestive system. There are a lot of buzzwords: villi, microvilli, brush border, bolus, chyme. The digestive system isn’t sexy and fun, to be sure. But it’s very important to know how your digestive system works, because about 80% of your immune system resides in your gut. If your digestion is off or you aren’t feeding it the things it needs, then your immune system could be less than optimal.
Since I want to keep these tidbits easy and quick to digest (see what I did there?), I’m going to focus on one thing today. If there’s only one thing you change in how/what you eat, it should be S L O W I N G D O W N. Digestion starts before you even put a piece of food in your mouth — it actually starts in the brain. When you anticipate eating, your brain starts sending signals to your body to prepare. That’s why when you see something delicious, your mouth waters. It’s amazing what your body is capable of doing when you get out of its way.
When you eat too quickly and under stressful circumstances, you don’t allow for proper digestion. If you, however, chew your food slowly and thoughtfully, then the saliva is able to break down the food the way it’s supposed to before it starts its journey through the rest of your digestive system.
Chew your food slowly, and chew a bunch of times before you swallow. Eat in peace. Don’t gulp. Lose your stress for a few minutes so your body isn’t in fight or flight mode. When you do this, you allow your digestive system to work the way it was meant to, digesting the food in the proper way at each stop (mouth, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, etc). When you eat in a hurry or under stress, or in the car or standing up or in front of the t.v. (we’ve all done it) then the food isn’t being digested properly, the nutrients aren’t being absorbed appropriately, and you can end up with chronic indigestion, food sensitivities, and a sub optimal immune system.
More information to come, but for today, just try to slow down when you eat. Be mindful and give a little thanks. And let me know how it works for you!