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How stress impacts digestive function

The root of most gut problems, is the downgrade of metabolic health. It’s not the food honey, it’s the chronic stress.

First, what do I mean by stress? It is anything that causes the body to STRAIN and use extra fuel resources and pull those things from being used in important daily body functions.

What is digestion? The mechanical and chemical processes in which the body breaks down and absorbs nutrients from food. When we are in the fight or flight state, our body prioritizes survival, by pulling power from digestive organs and sending blood, oxygen and nutrients to the organs like heart, lunges, adrenals and muscles.

The energetic state we are in when consuming our food matters. Eating mindlessly or in a stressed out environment leads to not chewing food properly. When we swallow large chunks of food, this leads to issues in the gut. Being in a stressed state means less stomach acid, digestive enzymes, sluggish bile, and less colon contractions. Large chunks of food can lead to fermenting, rotting, irritation and feeding of bacteria.

Ideally, food is broken down into liquid before swallowed, this allows for maximal absorption later in the intestines. A good rule of thumb is count to 20-30 chews before swallowing. As long as you do this, until you lose count at least–that’s a step in the right direction. Mechanical digestion mastication and peristalsis (chewing and movement through the gut) are equally crucial as chemical digestion for absorption of nutrients.

Digestion begins in the brain and nervous system, as well as the senses. How appetizing your plate is, the smells, tastes and textures. Salvia (drool) itself contains digestive enzymes.

Creating a pre-meal ritual where you take a few deep breaths to relax your brain and body is helpful when going through stressful times. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the more you enjoy your food and incorporate mindful eating practices into the daily routines, the better your digestion, absorption and overall satisfaction will be.

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