My Restore Your Health post on August 17th ended with the comment “Stress shuts down your digestion”. It bothers me when STRESS becomes the catch all for our physical and emotional illnesses. Nonetheless, the way our body manages stress is primal and does affect digestion. If you cannot digest what you eat you are starving yourself, poisoning yourself or some of each.
Fight or Flight
Back in the time when we had to beat feet to keep alive by out-running a predator or be on sharp alert when hunting for food, the body needed an efficient mechanism to optimize that by putting our energy reserves to work on the critical functions for that moment. Muscles for running and senses like sight and hearing went on sharp alert. The non-essentials for surviving the scenario went on the back burner of energy supplies, so to speak. One of those non-essentials is digestion.
Fast Forward Thousands of Years to You Today
The world around us has changed drastically in just the last 100 years, food and environment inclusive, but you have not. Your body, that is. So what does it do when you are freaked out by a pressing task, driving in rush hour traffic, racing to the airport when you are about to miss the last plane home or worried about your finances, health, etc. etc.? You know, just the daily stuff you deal with??? It does what it is supposed to do! Your digestion goes on the back burner of energy supplies. IT SHUTS DOWN. Do you know that the 3rd largest cash cow in the world of pharmaceuticals in 2011 was a $6.2 BILLION Dollar Baby to treat acid stomach? http://www.businessinsider.com/10-best-selling-blockbuster-drugs-2012-6?op=1
A Simple Fix
Now you see the real value of taking a breath and a break when you are going to eat. It is an elegantly simple fix to save your health as well as your sanity. The pause will give your body time to realize it needs to get ready to digest food. Ever notice how your mouth waters when you smell something delicious? Saliva is the first critical step in digestion. Salivary amylase is an enzyme needed to begin the digestion of starches as you chew. Yes, CHEWING. Not swallowing whole. http://www.livestrong.com/article/234489-amylase-vs-lipase/
Good things take time and attention.
Upcoming posts will have more on digestion. If you have specific questions contact Dorothy at SynergyWellnessNW.com.