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    digestion

    Digestion and weight loss

    By Nick Hall

    A lot of today’s processed foods lack essential nutrients, good bacteria and digestive enzymes. Some foods contain additives, sweeteners, hormones and antibiotics which can be toxic and stressful on our digestion. If your digestive system isn’t working properly, your body may not absorb the nutrients from the food you consume.

    We need to be able to effectively digest, metabolise, assimilate and eliminate the foods we eat in order to obtain the benefits from the food we consume. Symptoms of poor digestion include stomach cramps, reflux, indigestion, bloating and diarrhoea. This can lead to stress and inflammation on the rest of your digestive system.

    How poor digestion can lead to weight gain

    Your stomach is about the size of your fist. As you eat your stomach stretches. During the process of stretching, signals are sent to the brain from the stomach acknowledging that we are eating. If your stomach is used to being overstretched, it takes longer for the nerve signals to be sent from the stomach to the brain resulting in us taking longer to feel full.

    Depending on what type of food we eat, it can take time for our brain to catch up to our stomach. If we inhale our food and don’t chew properly, we can easily overeat as our brain doesn’t have time to catch up to our stomach. If food leaves the stomach undigested apart from causing digestion problems, your body will have trouble absorbing the nutrients and converting energy from the food that isn’t properly digested. If your body doesn’t absorb nutrients and energy from what you have eaten, your energy levels will suffer. This can lead to low blood sugar levels and cravings for sweet food and caffeine. If this is process is repeated consistently, weight gain will occur.

    How to assist digestion
    Stomach acids begin secreting as soon as you smell food as your stomach is preparing to receive food. Cooking your food will help the secretion of stomach acids.

    Chew your food until it is liquefied. Stomach acid is produced during the process of chewing. Put your fork and knife down in between mouthfuls and stop and rest halfway through your meal. You can assist with digestion by drinking apple cider vinegar or lemon juice diluted with water before a meal. Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice helps stimulate stomach acids.

    How to improve your level of satiety without overeating
    Include a good source of protein and fat with each meal. Chewing protein and fat sends signals from the mouth to the brain that we are actually eating. These signals take around five minutes to reach the brain. Relying on your stomach to actually feeling full can take around 20 minutes.

    Eating plant food requires a lot of chewing. Including plenty of vegetables with each meal give you the feeling of fullness without adding lots of energy dense calories.

    Reduce or eliminate processed carbs. It’s easy to over consume processed carbs as they don’t have the same level of satiety. Processed carbs are usually stripped of essential nutrients which can be taxing on the liver and digestive system.

    If you are having problems digesting foods, taking digestive enzymes may assist the digestion and absorption process. It can also to eliminate the foods that you know might be causing digestive problems

    Pro-biotics

    Antibiotics can strip the gut of good bacteria which is required to ferment food that passes into the large intestine. Bad gut bacteria love sugar and refined carbs. An imbalance of bad gut bacteria can lead to cravings for sugar and carbs. Too much bad gut bacteria can also lead to gas and bloating. Pro-biotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut.

    Liver detox
    The liver rids your body of toxins from food and drink we consume. It also is involved in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

    When we overload our liver with toxins liver cells can die. Cells can regenerate, but over time, the livers ability to regenerate damaged cells will be impaired. When a cell is unable to regenerate, fat will move in. This can lead to a fatty liver. Over time this can then lead to inflammation and cirrhosis of the liver.

    Alcohol, trans-fat, caffeine, sugar, synthetic substances, artificial sweeteners, medication, processed foods and infections all can overload our liver. We can reduce the load on our liver by eliminating these type of substances from our diet and including more natural, live foods with each meal. These types of foods are easily assimilated by our body and place less stress on the liver.

    In addition you can also include more leafy green vegetables, green tea and increase your intake of essential fatty acids.

    References:
    Weaver, Dr L. Accidentally Overweight.
    Check, P. How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy.

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