Troy Giles, D. C. 565 West 2600 South, Bountiful, UT 84010
(801) 298-4646 www.familywellnesscenter.info
Digestion begins with what you put on your plate. You have heard the old saying, “you are what you eat”. That is not totally correct. You are what you eat and absorb. In order to absorb and assimilate proper nutrition, you must first eat foods that have proper nutrition inherently in them. Fruits and vegetables are naturally nutritiously complete with all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and even more importantly, enzymes necessary to digest the food properly. To illustrate — if you leave a banana on the counter, the digestive enzymes go to work and will eventually turn the banana brown.
Digestive enzymes are very vital to appropriate digestion. Fruits and vegetables are full of enzymes and help the body digest other foods eaten with the fruits and vegetables. Eating foods that have active enzymes inherent in them will diminish the stress on the body during the digestive process.
Cooking your fruits or vegetables will diminish the vitamin and enzyme content. If you wish to cook your fruits and vegetables, only lightly steam or stir-fry them. Do not heat live foods to over 120 degrees. Heating live food over 120 degrees will kill the vitamin and enzyme content. Microwave ovens are especially harmful to the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals in your foods.
Three major enzymes exist. Protease digests proteins, Amylase digests carbohydrates, and Lipase digests fats. These enzymes are produced in the body mainly in the pancreas. As food is eaten, chemical receptors in the digestive tract sense what is in the meal, and the pancreas secretes the appropriate type and amount of enzymes to digest the food. The body becomes stressed when we eat dead foods that contain no digestive enzymes of its own. Simple carbohydrates such as bread, cakes, cookies, and candies do not contain their own enzymes, so the body has to produce more enzymes to digest this food properly.
Stomach acid is also very important to the digestive process as it is one of the major factors in digesting proteins such as animal flesh. Many people have a diminished acid production as they age and it becomes difficult for them to digest meat properly. If you are older than 30, a digestive enzyme supplement with each meal is recommended to aid in the digestive process.
Chewing food thoroughly is also very important in effective digestion. The more surface exposed to the digestive acid and enzymes, the better the digestion of the food. The idea with digestion and assimilation of food is to break it down small enough to be absorbed into the blood. If it is not broken down small enough, it can not be absorbed and the food value will be lost.
Drinking fluid while eating your meal will diminish the digestion by diluting the enzymes. If you need to drink with your meal, only sip water instead of drinking a full glass. Drink the bulk of your water one hour after consuming food if possible.