In Part I we discussed that stomach acids are not the enemy and how necessary they are for a variety of reasons. In Part II we will discuss how to alleviate heartburn, GERD and other digestive challenges naturally, without drugs.
The sayings “Good health begins in the gut” and “You’ll never get someone well until you straighten out their digestion” is about as true as it gets. Gut (collectively meaning the stomach and intestines) health is paramount to good health in general, and in healing. If we are unable to process adequate vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and proteins, our bodies won’t have the necessary materials for growth, repair and function. It’s as simple as that. We have the ability to change, for the good or the bad, the outcome of our digestive health.
Almost all digestive disorders have their root in the mouth or stomach, with cascading effects all down the intestinal line. Our lifestyles tend to upset the perfection of the digestion that is really quite amazing.
Stress is one of those lifestyle maladies that down regulate our digestion. Since stress is part of the fight or flight defense mechanism, eating while stressed or in a hurry effectively shuts down our digestion. This is because that mechanism halts any function not needed to fight or run. We don’t need digestion for that. What can you do? Sit down to eat. Take a deep breath and relax. Don’t engage in stressful conversations while eating. Chew slowly. I mentioned above that all digestive disorders have their root in the mouth. There is a communication link between the tongue and the brain that is crucial to digestive health. If your tongue doesn’t come in contact with ALL the contents of what is in your mouth, you limit digestive capabilities. Chew your food to a liquid to ensure good tongue to brain communication.
Don’t drink cold or ice water with meals. The stomach needs to be warm to release proper enzymes and begin digestion. Cold constricts and slows down the process. Room temperature water or warm herbal tea is best. Too much liquid dilutes the enzymes needed for digestion.
Eat foods rich in enzymes, such as found in raw foods. These enzymes enhance digestion and in of themselves are easiest to digest. The enzymes in processed foods are destroyed in order to maintain shelf life, and therefore require more from your body to digest these dead foods. This puts unnecessary strain on your digestive organs.
If you have gut damage already, or are taking medications (over the counter or prescribed), you may need to have expert help in restoring healthy digestion. Acupuncture, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplementation under the direction of a skilled professional can help restore healthy digestive function. These can reduce inflammation, promote healing of gut tissue, restore healthy enzyme production and improve immune function which can deteriorate as digestive health deteriorates.
The above barely scratches the surface of all that you can do to revivify your digestion, which you will find begins the path to overall healing of your body.
©2015 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.