“One Man’s Food is Another’s Poison." ~ Dr Mercola
The process of digestion is so much more than what we may first think. Great digestion means that even toxic substances can be made harmless, while poor digestion means that even beneficial foods can become poison and promote disease.
To really encompass the importance of what digestion entails we must go beyond the digestive tract and be aware of all the high metabolic places in our body such as the liver, pancreas, small intestine, etc. This broader view of digestion extends to all parts of our body and includes every cell.
While reading this article it is important to remember that every cell digests something inwards, uses heat transformation and excretes waste products.
Digestive Imbalance Symptoms
The signs, symptoms and diseases that are highly influenced by improper digestion
If you experience 3 or more of the following imbalances on a weekly basis, then the chances are you are suffering from digestive imbalance!
Simplified Naturopathic Understanding of Digestion
The modern medical understanding of digestion is very much based on enzymes which catalyse and create transformation of the molecular bonds in the food we eat. In simple terms, these enzymes break our foods into the right size and shape so they can be used by our bodies’ cells.
These enzymes are secreted from many different organs and cells that influence different parts of the digestive tract. When there is imbalanced secretion of these digestive enzymes then there are improperly digested foods that ferment and feed parasites, fungi and yeast.
This is a very important point to understand because it shows that bacteria and parasites often do not forcibly invade or take over the digestive system. Instead they are opportunistic organisms that are able to flourish when there is undigested food or excessive waste products for them to feed upon. In fact, many of the organisms that live in our digestive tract are absolutely essential and we could not live without them.
However, when there is poor digestion, great challenges can arise in the body because these organisms are given excessive fuel for their fire. They then multiply out of control, excrete their own waste products and damage the walls of the intestine.
If the walls of the intestine become sufficiently damaged then the condition is referred to as leaky gut. This can become a serious problem where partially digested foods, fungi, bacteria and parasites enter into the bloodstream and create havoc throughout the rest of the body.
If the leaky gut becomes severe then it can also lead to a condition called auto-intoxication. This is where the body unwillingly reabsorbs the waste products of the liver and colon creating a perpetual cycle of refilling the body with its own waste products.
We see examples of this in our environment where bacteria are living in harmony and balance, because nature often does not create excess food for them all in one location. But if we observe places where humans have funnelled water and waste products such as a sewage pipe opening to a field, then bacteria proliferate at this location.
This proliferation is not solely because the bacteria were present there to begin with, but more obviously because there is an abundance of food for them to eat. Humans have observed if we process (digest/metabolise) the sewage properly before excreting into a field then the growth of harmful bacteria is greatly reduced and the balance of bacteria is more likely to be restored.
By adopting good digestive principles we can prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, fungi and parasites. This lessens the likelihood of an inflamed and bloated digestive system that reabsorbs toxins. Instead we create an optimum functioning system that provides sufficient enzymes for digestion and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.
“You are what you eat. No, actually you are what you digest." ~ Dr Rama Prasad
Simplified Ayurvedic Understanding of the Digestive Process and Cause of Disease
When agni (digestive force/enzymes) is low then ama (improperly digested toxins) is created instead of ojas (life sustaining essence) and this leads to the creation of disease instead of vitality.
This degenerative cycle becomes mutually reinforcing so that low agni (digestive force) creates more ama (improperly digested toxins) and low production of ojas (life sustaining essence), which in turn does not nourish agni (digestive force and enzyme production) and the whole cycle is repeated.
There are many factors that affect the quality and quantity of agni (digestive force), and many of the most important ones will be dealt with below.
Causes of improper digestion include
General good digestion principles
Chew, chew, chew...
Recipe for poor digestion: exercise during and right after meal!
Fruits after meal? NOT!
We can see from this article that the importance of digestion is truly paramount in the creation of good health and longevity. It should always be the first step in the treatment of any disease so that we can properly absorb our foods and secrete our waste products.
As the first point states, our mental and emotional stress has a profound effect upon digestion so it is even more important to not get stressed and think that you need to religiously follow all of these principles. Instead, understand that each step that you can comfortably integrate using your positively directed willpower, will assist your long term health, happiness and vitality.
Wishing you health and prosperity,
PS: If you would like my support to strengthen your digestion, then my Vitality Now Ayurvedic Detox Retreat is for you. Agni or digestive fire is the focus of this detox retreat, where all herbs and treatments are individualised for your unique needs. Supporting you to restore your clarity and energy, so you can have more freedom in you life.
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