A journey through the digestive system – Step 1 The Brain
There are many considerations when it comes to optimising digestion, but first of all we must understand the journey that our food takes to get broken down into its simply molecular form such as amino acids, fatty acids and glucose.
By understanding basic anatomy and physiology we are better able to understand potential symptoms and thus more accurately determine possible underlying causes of dysfunction.
Our digestion starts in the brain
Even before food enters the mouth we should be thinking about what we are about to eat. The smell can also play a crucial role along with thought in its stimulatory effect on digestive juices, saliva, enzymes, and digestive hormones in anticipation for the food we eat. Not only that, blood flow can also change to support digestion.
The trouble is many of us simply don’t respect this primal reaction to food. If a lion was chasing you, do you think your body is primed to accept food at that point?
We must first find safety (a relaxed environment away from stressors) before we can offer the body sustenance. Unfortunately modern day stressors mean we can find ourselves in a chronically stressed state.
Could something as simple as improving someone’s eating environment and habits be beneficial to how they digest food?
Could it also be a major contributor towards the increased use of digestive enzymes to aid digestion?
Some basic tips include:
- Eat away from your workstation.
- Perform some meditation or basic breathing exercises before you eat to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and help shut down any sympathetic responses to stress.
- Smell and appreciate your food.