Last week in my blog Good Digestion Trumps Good Nutrition I talked about the effects of stress on digestion and how important it is to slow down and chew food before you swallow it.
When food goes into the stomach an amazing sequence of events continues the digestive process. I was fascinated when I learned that the stomach actually does a dance when food arrives. REALLY!
Three layers of muscle around the stomach run in three directions. They contract sequentially to create a churning effect called peristalsis that mixes the food, liquid and digestive juices.
I have been trying to feel that but cannot say I actually do.
More fascinating is that the chewed food, properly called a bolus, is acted on in different ways in different parts of the stomach. The salivary enzymes do their thing while food is held in the top part, the fundus. This takes about an hour and can be up to 75% of the entire digestive process in the stomach, IF the enzymes are present.*
By the way, food has natural enzymes that are lost completely, denatured and rendered inactive, by sustained heat over 118 degrees. Cooking food is not helping matters when you eat too fast and don’t chew either. NO enzymes…
So eat cooked food AND raw food and CHEW. OK, enough on chewing.
When the bolus, now called chyme, moves down to the stomach body, there are cells in the stomach lining called parietal that release very strong acid, Hydrochloric Acid.
Once again, I find it totally amazing that the acid is strong enough to eat a hole in the floor yet it does not destroy the stomach wall because the stomach lining, if it is healthy, releases a protective mucous layer.
The acid plays many roles in the process. If the pH is not low (acidic) enough, the process falters. And so, antacids may not be the best long term solution to stomach burning; they might be helpful for a quick solution but apparently not long term.
“And once again, if your body is getting the benefit of full enzymatic digestion in the cardia and fundus, it will digest up to 75% of the proteins in your meal before HCL and pepsin ever come into play. This means that in proper digestion, HCL and pepsin should only be required to do clean up duty. But without enzymatic digestion, your body is required to increase HCL and pepsinogen production by some 400% to make up the difference. Once again, this is a major body stressor with profound long term consequences.” Jon Barron*
*For a deeper explanation of the digestive process I refer you to Jon Barron’s excellent articles on Digestion.
The need to chew food, have a healthy digestive tract lining and eat at least 65% or more raw food in your regular diet is very clear, don’t you agree?