Written By Hannah Dykstra
Brain: Why your digestion may be inhibiting your performance potential
Digestion is a north to south process, meaning it starts in the brain! Our bodies can only properly digest foods if we are in a parasympathetic state (rest and digest.) If you were to watch the process of a lion in pursuit of his dinner it is clear to see the distinction between the systems at which he fights for his food vs when he digests his food. The lions nature is to relax while digesting and enjoying his meal, he isn’t rushing to cram an entire gazelle into his stomach before taking his cubs to soccer practice. The lion is mindful. BE LIKE THE LION. Pencil in some time to digest in your schedule.
Mouth: if our brain lack the ability to “turn on” once we put food in our mouths, the proper reactions and enzymes will not be released specifically saliva. If we do not excrete salivary amalayse, our body cannot breakdown carbohydrates. If these carbs don’t break down, they are left undigested in the colon leading to inflammation and dysbiosis.
Stomach: Gastric juices such as HCL, pepsin and much are secreted to break down the macronutrients. If we cannot secrete HCL, carbs will ferment, proteins will putrefy and fats will rancidity. Meaning we are not absorbing these macro and micro nutrients.
FACT: (If you’re a fellow “gain-trainer” wanting to gain as much muscle as humanly possible you’ll want to hear this.) In order to properly break down proteins into amino acids, our bodies must produce an enzyme called Pepsin. Pepsin is not produced when digestion is compromised, therefore our bodies are missing out on the crucial amino acids. When these acids skip digestion, they enter the bloodstream where the body creates an immune defense. This chronic immune defense can gradually increase food allergies and intolerances to these proteins!
Gallbladder: A low fat or poor fat diet do not allow the release of bile which is the way we actually absorb fats. No bile=no absorption of fats.
Large intestine: Maldigested foods will degenerate in the colon disrupting the flora and weakens the cells which can cause IBS, Chron’s disease, Colitis and other digestive diseases.
In summary if our bodies are too busy working extra hard to digest food, how do you expect your body to perform at its highest potential? Along with that, our hard working bodies NEED healthy macronutrients to absorb vitamins and mineral in order to keep working hard. IF we cannot digest these macronutrients, we are not absorbing them, if we are not absorbing them, we are deprived! Don’t deprive your body of what it needs, it does so many amazing things for you so why not re-pay it with consciously taking care of it.
My challenge for you-
• Be mindful while you eat! Put your phone away & focus on the whole foods you are consuming. • Take time for each meal, if this is really hard for you chose 1 meal a day.
• Chew for 30 seconds per bite! Its hard trust me.
• Take a shot of apple cider vinegar or invest in some digestive enzymes!
• Track your digestion & how these foods make you feel.