The Key To Better Digestion

The Key To Better Digestion

The Key To Better Digestion

The body simply can not digest food and assimilate nutrients properly when it’s in a state of stress. This can include but is not limited to: eating when you’re feeling rushed, worried, have divided attention (phone, t.v., etc.), eating while running from a tiger, fighting off an anaconda or hanging from a cliff.

 

When you’re body and mind are stressed by a perceived* threat, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated. This system is known as the “fight or flight” response. Your body’s last thought is digesting food when it believes you are in danger. This means that cortisol, adrenaline and insulin are released in large amounts to help you  physically fight or run away from the perceived threat. 

 

 

Sounds like a normal, biological reaction for humans, right? It is! The issue is that in even in these modern times we live in, the mind can not distinguish between a rabid animal chasing us or the threat of missing a report deadline. Stress is stress according to the body. So what happens when the body doesn't exert the energy fueled by the fight or flight response? It gets deposited as fat, typically around the belly area. No bueno, am I right? 

However, when the body is in a relaxed state, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is stimulated which activates the body’s “rest and digest” response. It’s during this time that the body heals, regenerates and finds balance. Here is a quick break down of what's going on in the body when each system is activated:

PNS

SNS

  • slows heart rate

  • increased heart rate

  • muscles relax

  • muscles contract

  • increases stomach movement and secretions, increased saliva production, healing and regeneration occur

  • increases adrenaline, body becomes more alert, functions that are not critical to survival shut down

So, how can you activate your PNS and begin digesting your food better?  

We share 3 simple tips below!

 

 

  • Eliminate major stressors in your life. Trim the (trans) fat, so to speak. Now is an excellent opportunity to distance yourself from people or events that cause you to feel anxious or overwhelmed and replace them with things and people you enjoy.

  • BREATHE. You know, that thing you do to live? Bringing awareness to your breath can instantly relax the body and mind. Start small with just one minute of deep breathing. Inhale through the nose and fill up your belly and lungs, hold the breath at the top before slowly exhaling through the nose.

  • Practice mindful eating techniques such as sitting down for each meal or spend time cooking and plating your meal like a fancy food restaurant would( #treatyourself). Mindfulness can be as simple as focusing on one task at a time, so put the phone away at dinner and enjoy your food and company. 

 

Practicing these stress relieving techniques have more benefits on your body and brain than just optimal digestion. They can help lower blood pressure, improve focus and productivity, relax tense muscles in the body and improve your overall mood.

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