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Your Digestion and You

Dr. Rajeev Sood

Ideally, the digestive process should occur swiftly and efficiently so that optimum nutritional value is obtained from the food we eat. Indigestion or dyspepsia is the term commonly used to describe abdominal discomfort that occurs after eating. Here are a few steps to improve the digestion with homoeopathic remedies that promote digestive processes and relieves the discomforts of indigestion.

The digestive tract is responsible for the digestion and absorption of food and the elimination of waste material at the other end. Gut related disorders are common and up to 80 percent of individuals suffer from symptoms that are a sign of ill health.

Digestion at Work
The digestive tract is a tube several metres long that begins at the mouth and runs to the anus at the other end. It has eight main components: the mouth, the oesophagus, the stomach, the small and large intestines, the pancreas, the gallbladder and the liver. Each part of the digestive tract has a role to play in breaking down the food we eat so that it can be absorbed and used by the body.

The Mouth
Digestion of food begins in the mouth with a thorough cutting and chewing of food. Chewing stimulates the secretion of digestive juices lower down in the gut. Chewing also mixes food with the saliva, which contains an enzyme, called amylase that starts the digestion of starchy foods. Breaking up the food increases the efficiency of digestion by giving digestive enzymes the opportunity to penetrate the food more effectively.

Causes of Poor Digestion

  • Failure to chew thoroughly. Chewing has a very important role to play in the digestive process. Failure to chew thoroughly can impair digestion and reduce the efficiency of the other elements of the digestive process.
  • Eating too large meals. The digestive system can only do so much at one time. The bigger the meal you eat, the less able the digestive system will be to digest it completely.
  • Drinking large volumes of liquid with meals. This dilutes the secretions responsible for digestion.
  • Late meals at night.
  • Stress
  • Low stomach acid.
The stay of food in the oesophagus is very brief. The very presence of food in the oesophagus initiates gentle waves of contraction that pushes the food towards the stomach.

Why is Chewing Important?
  • Chewing reduces the food to small bits, which can be conveniently swallowed.
  • It breaks the indigestible cell walls of plant cells so that the digestible contents of the cells can be exposed to digestive juices.

The Stomach
The food travels down the oesophagus into the stomach, where acid is secreted that starts the process of digestion of protein based foods. The lining of the stomach is protected from the action of the acid by a thick coat of mucus.

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