For the next several weeks, Friday blog posts will highlight some of the informative lessons learned from the book Be Your Own Doctor by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser. She is a healing arts practitioner, a Hygienist who has used all available knowledge about digestion, health and healing to have a simple health philosophy. Given time, the body can heal itself. As a hygienist, she believes in the healing powers of the body. Hygienic medicine believes that Disease is a part of living that you are responsible for and capable of handling yourself through preventative measures. Hygienists will clearly state that they cannot heal you, that only the body can heal itself if given a chance. In this post, we will be talking specifically about digestion’s effects on health and Disease.
Basics of Digestion
Digestion occurs when the foods we eat are chemically changed into water-soluble substances and thus can pass into the bloodstream and circulate through the body. These nutrients can go where nutrition is needed and as energy for performing bodily functions through circulation. Our bodies use nutritional substances for fuel, repair and rebuilding, and conduct incredibly complex biochemistry.
The body breaks down foods with different enzymes mixed with Food at various points as it passes from mouth to stomach to the small intestine. An enzyme is a large, complex molecule that can chemically change other complex molecules without transforming itself. Digestive enzymes perform relatively simple functions–breaking large molecules into smaller parts that can dissolve in water.
Digestion starts in the mouth when food is mixed with amylase and lipase, enzymes secreted by the salivary glands. Amylase converts insoluble carbohydrates/starches into simple sugars. Lipase converts lipids/fats into fatty acids. The breakdown of foods in the mouth only occurs if there is sufficient chewing. Otherwise, Food is not entirely broken down and ends up in chunks in our stomachs.
Importance of Chewing
Chewing is an underappreciated part of the digestion process. A study conducted by Horace Fletcher reported significant improvements in the overall health and performance of participants who consciously chewed their Food. He has recommended that every mouthful be chewed 50 times before being swallowed. The benefits of such a simple task are unique; it will decrease intestinal gas, ease digestion, and assist in weight loss because your blood sugar level will elevate quicker, and your sense of hunger will dissipate sooner. So, as you can see, our mothers were right when they said it is essential and beneficial to chew your Food!
When Food is wholly chewed and swallowed, it travels down to the stomach. In the stomach, Food is mixed with acid and the enzyme pepsin. These things break down proteins into water-soluble amino acids. With enough churning in an acidic environment, sufficient time, and enough enzymes, all the recently eaten proteins are decomposed into amino acids. These amino acids pass into the blood, where the body recombines them into structures it needs to properly function. And we have health.
The digested products are sent through the small and large intestines. In the large intestine, water and vitamins and minerals that can be used are absorbed into the bloodstream. Whatever waste product is left then exists in our body through our rectum.
Difficulties During Digestive Process
As mentioned above, chewing is a critical part of digestion. However, many of us forget to effectively do this step. Usually, in our hurried state to get foods into our stomach, we fail to chew correctly, gulping food chunks down into our stomach. Carbs/Starches are best broken down in an alkaline environment, provided in our mouths. WheFoodod moves into the stomach, it is in a very acidic environment, which inactivates amylase, so any carbs not converted into simple sugars do not get properly processed. If carbs/starches reach the small intestine, they are fermented by mildly toxic yeasts.
Chewing Is a Critical Part of Digestion; Chew For Better Health!
Another issue during the digestive process is that proteins are rarely water-soluble. To make them soluble, enzymes break down the proteins, separating the individual amino acids one from the other because amino acids are soluble. Enzymes that digest proteins work as mirror images of particular amino acids. They fit against a specific amino acid like a key fits into a lock. However, when proteins are heated, they are overcooked, and the protein structures are changed into physical shapes that enzymes can’t “latch” on. If they can’t latch on to them, they will not break the protein chains down into amino acids. Undigested proteins are attacked by anaerobic bacteria. The waste products of anaerobic putrefaction are highly toxic and foul-smelling. When proteins are undigested, they travel through the small and large intestines instead of being released into the bloodstream.
The fermenting and putrefying foods also pose another threat; they begin to interfere with the functioning of the large intestine and cause constipation. Improperly digesteFoodod gradually coats the large intestine, making a thick lining that interferes with the intestines functioning and clogging it up. Those toxins slowly seep into the bloodstream when the large intestine is lined with putrefying undigested food waste. When these toxins move into the bloodstream, they must be cleaned out by the liver and kidneys. These toxins place a significant burden on the liver and kidneys, accelerating their breakdown and aging.
Undigested Food leading to Disease
In the past 100 years, we have invented industrially processed foods, and our bodies haven’t yet adapted to digesting them. A combination of busy and demanding schedules and the ease with which we can access processed foods has led to a decline in our health. Processed foods have a lower nutritional content, and they also cause irritation and malnutrition in our bodies because they are harder to break down and have lower nutrient content. Our increased intake of processed and industrially farmed foods results in increased levels of Disease. When the level of undigesteFoodod and toxins is increased in the bloodstream, it places a burden on the liver and kidney to eliminate these toxins. This elimination burden is greater than the ability of the liver and kidney. This, in turn, begins to weaken these organs. If there is a decline in the functioning of the kidney and/or liver, it threatens the stability and purity of the blood.
If it gets to this stage, the body will minimize the damage by diverting the surplus toxins to the second elimination system. Most non-life-threatening yet highly annoying disease conditions originate as secondary eliminations. For example, the skin was designed to sweat and eliminate fluids. Toxins will often push out the sweat glands and are recognized as an unpleasant body odour. When toxins are discharged through tissues not designed to handle them, the tissues themselves become irritated, inflamed, weakened and thus much more subject to bacterial or viral infection, often leading to even more diseases.
We Are What We Eat, So Make Healthier Choices!
Our body has natural and effective detoxification mechanisms. However, if we stress our bodies out by consuming too many processed foods, toxins and pollutants, the toxic load increases beyond detoxification limits and leads to Disease. When this happens, the kidney and liver cannot keep up, eliminating toxins ineffective. The body then stores toxins in fat or muscle tissues, leading to cysts, fibroids and benign tumours. This is a terrifying thought!
So what can we do to prevent diseases and not overburden our detoxification organs? First, we must look at our diet… Are we eating too many processed foods? Are we eating too many fast foods? Are we getting enough fruits and vegetables? Are we eating a variety of vegetables? Are the fruits and vegetables organic? Are we eating clean protein sources? As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat,” so we must eat well to be well. We must eat clean to clean and detoxify our bodies and provide the proper nutrients and fuel. We must provide our bodies with natural and organic produce to satisfy their metabolic needs.
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