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It is no coincidence that both Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, arguably the two oldest systems of medicine on the planet, consider digestion to be one of the key factors influencing our health. In fact, some of the more radical Ayurvedic doctors go so far as to not even acknowledge the presence of individual diseases, believing that all imbalances in the body stem from digestive problems and faulty diet in one form or another.

Patients are treated with a combination of specific herbs and dietary therapies aimed at strengthening and healing the digestive tract and any underlying digestive problems, quite frequently with remarkable success. Modern nutritional research has in large part validated this ancient knowledge, confirming that diet does indeed play a major role in health. So much so, in fact, that we have been led to believe by many well-meaning nutritionists and doctors that eating whole, organic, unprocessed food is the single most important thing we can do to improve our overall health.

And, they are right: The quality and strength of your digestion governs the ability of your body to properly absorb the nutrients from the food you are eating.

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Without a healthy, well-functioning digestive tract, free of digestive problems, even the best dietary habits will do you little good as your body struggles to process the essential nutrients locked away in your food.

The fact is that if you cannot fully assimilate what you eat, you will invariably experience disease and unnecessary suffering regardless of any other measures taken towards maintaining and improving your health.

When you see the nutrition facts panel that lists what various vitamins and minerals are in the food you are eating, it is tempting to think that you simply absorb it all when you consume that food—I know I did for many years.

But it was not until I began studying Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine that I learned not all of the nutrients we eat are absorbed unless our digestion is operating at its peak. Free Enlightened Living Course: In cases of deficient digestion and deeper digestive problems, as little as half in severe situations, even less of what we consume in terms of actual nutrients—vitamins, minerals, protein amino acids —is actually assimilated into our bloodstream and used by our bodies.

This is due to the less-than-ideal state of the digestive tract in most individuals nowadays, which arises from the detrimental eating and lifestyle habits that have become commonplace in Western culture.

Gluten Intolerance… or Just Poor Digestion?

As a society, we are collectively becoming more aware of the relationship between what we eat and our health, which is a major step in the right direction. However, we have a tendency to incorrectly vilify certain foods, when the real culprit is not the foods themselves, but underlying digestive problems.

For example, the number of people claiming to have gluten intolerance has reached epidemic proportions; but only a handful actually have a medically diagnosable allergy to gluten known as Celiac disease. For those diagnosed with Celiac disease, it is truly life threatening to consume wheat and other gluten-containing products. Gluten is a protein found in high concentrations in modern, hybridized varieties of wheat and other similar grains such as rye, barley and spelt that can irritate the digestive tract of sensitive individuals.

However, it has been my experience that, in most cases, the true culprit is not the gluten itself, but undiagnosed digestive problems.

  1. Gluten Intolerance… or Just Poor Digestion? In cases of deficient digestion and deeper digestive problems, as little as half in severe situations, even less of what we consume in terms of actual nutrients—vitamins, minerals, protein amino acids —is actually assimilated into our bloodstream and used by our bodies.
  2. Sugar Even in healthy diets , there can be a considerable amount of sugar. Furthermore, your intestines produce and co-regulate 30 other neurotransmitters identical to those found in your brain and are used by your central nervous system to regulate mood , stress levels, sleep patterns, mental functioning and any number of other essential body processes.
  3. This may alleviate symptoms in the short term but leaves the door wide open for opportunistic pathogens to take advantage of the serious lack of endogenous, immune-enhancing good bacteria left in the wake of antibiotic use, which very quickly leads to serious digestive problems.
  4. Eating cold foods puts enormous stress on our digestive system and causes us to only partially digest what we eat, which as you know, leads to digestive problems.
  5. Sugar Even in healthy diets , there can be a considerable amount of sugar.

For years, I experienced many of the telltale signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance: And yet, that all changed once I began to heal my digestive tract and the underlying digestive problems using many of the guidelines that will be revealed later in this article, based primarily on Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. After a few months of concerted effort, I was able to eat wheat and other gluten grains with no ill effects whatsoever.

Let me be clear that I am not denying the existence of Celiac disease or saying that gluten is harmless. Wheat and other gluten-containing grains are definitely some of the most irritating foods for the digestive tract and anyone working to heal their digestive problems is advised to avoid them for some time. However, they typically only become a problem for most people when they are concurrently experiencing deficient digestion.

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Eaten in moderation, organic, minimally hybridized wheat is a particularly healthy food. Few know this, but wheat is perhaps the most nutrient dense of all grains and, furthermore, has been a mainstay of the human diet for thousands of years. How Digestion Works One of the primary reasons people develop digestive problems is simply that they lack a basic understanding of how the digestive process operates.

Armed with this knowledge, it becomes quite easy to identify if a given food or lifestyle choice will create digestive problems or support strong, healthy digestion. Digestion actually begins in the mouth. The act of chewing food mixes it with our saliva; rich in digestive enzymes, saliva begins to break down the food even before it reaches our stomach. Therefore, the first step in improving your digestive problems is to chew your foods thoroughly—a good starting point is at least 20 times per bite.

More is ideal, but to be practical, this is probably unreasonable for most people. This is another critical juncture at which digestive problems frequently arise because many of us have the habit of drinking and eating simultaneously.

This can lead to gas, shooting pains and sub-clinical nutrient deficiencies, among other things, as the body struggles to release the vitamins and minerals locked away in the undigested pieces of food.

Again, a few sips is not usually an issue, but drinking more than that could be highly counterproductive, especially if you are trying to rebuild your digestive strength and heal your digestive problems. These beneficial bacteria also known as probiotics or intestinal flora are in a delicate balance but are rather resilient if we eat well and abide by the digestive best practices outlined by Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and summarized in this article.

However, there are some very common things that we do that absolutely decimate this natural symbiosis and are responsible in large part for the epidemic level of digestive problems we face in the West.

By far, the most serious problem is the use of antibiotics.

Even as little as one pill can majorly disrupt the digestive tract and kill off an alarming amount of the essential good bacteria that are so intricately linked to our digestive ability and health.

The problem with pharmaceutical antibiotics is that they are nondiscriminatory, meaning that they simply kill all intestinal bacteria, good or bad. This may alleviate symptoms in the short term but leaves the door wide open for opportunistic pathogens to take advantage of the serious lack of endogenous, immune-enhancing good bacteria left in the wake of antibiotic use, which very quickly leads to serious digestive problems.

As a first line of defense, colloidal silver and oil of wild oregano are excellent, time-honored choices.

Furthermore, your intestines produce and co-regulate 30 other neurotransmitters identical to those found in your brain and are used by your central nervous system to regulate moodstress levels, sleep patterns, mental functioning and any number of other essential body processes.

As you can imagine, an imbalanced, damaged or poorly functioning digestive system—whether that is due to antibiotic use, diet and lifestyle or simply overconsumption of irritating foods—interferes with the functioning of this second brain and has been implicated in depression and other mood disorders, immune system disruption and many other common diseases.

Juicing and Cold Foods Any food eaten or served cold tends to disrupt digestion to some degree. Our bodies are very warm 98.

  • This is due to the less-than-ideal state of the digestive tract in most individuals nowadays, which arises from the detrimental eating and lifestyle habits that have become commonplace in Western culture;
  • Digestion actually begins in the mouth;
  • Again, a few sips is not usually an issue, but drinking more than that could be highly counterproductive, especially if you are trying to rebuild your digestive strength and heal your digestive problems;
  • Again, a few sips is not usually an issue, but drinking more than that could be highly counterproductive, especially if you are trying to rebuild your digestive strength and heal your digestive problems.

Eating cold foods puts enormous stress on our digestive system and causes us to only partially digest what we eat, which as you know, leads to digestive problems. Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to cold foods as damp, which alludes to the effect they have on our digestion. Think of a swamp, clogged and stagnant. Excessive juice or cold foods produce the same effects in our digestive tract. Compounded by the fact that they are cold and typically high in naturally occurring sugar, juices can very quickly imbalance even otherwise robust digestion and create digestive problems.

Again, balance is key here. A fresh-squeezed juice a few times a week is usually not a problem digestion self design practical the effect of your digestion is strong and healthy. But a juice every day for more than the short term for example, as part of a cleanse lasting a week or two is a recipe for digestive problems. Juicing and cleansing diets make us feel good initially as our body is purified and organ function improves, and so we assume that they are healthy and beneficial in the long term; but the reality is that they can and do burnout our digestion and create noticeable digestive problems quite quickly because they typically rely on juicing, fruits, salads and other cold, damp foods.

Raw Foods In addition to generally consisting of abundant amounts of salad, fruits, juice and other cold foods, raw food diets rely heavily on nuts and seeds which are the most difficult to digest of all foods. They can be broken down to a degree by sprouting, which is commonly done on raw food diets, but this does not remove them completely; and, even in small amounts, they put quite a bit of stress on our digestion and can lead to chronic digestive problems.

As a short-term cleansing protocol, or as part of a more balanced overall diet incorporating cooked foods, raw foods can be an incredible asset towards promoting health, but be sure to listen to your body. If you are suffering from digestive problems, it is recommended not to follow raw food diets as they almost always make things worse. Alkaline Water Our digestive secretions are extremely acidic; and when we regularly drink alkaline water or beverages, it neutralizes our stomach acidity, which eventually breaks down our digestion.

Alkaline water can be beneficial in moderation if it is naturally alkaline—meaning that it is alkaline due to naturally occurring or added minerals such as those which occur in spring water. All minerals are alkaline, and mixing them with water causes the water to become alkaline.

However, many brands artificially alkalize water by passing it over metal plates with slight electric charges, which manipulate the ion balance as a shortcut to alkalinity.

Sugar Even in healthy dietsthere can be a considerable amount of sugar.

  1. Let me be clear that I am not denying the existence of Celiac disease or saying that gluten is harmless.
  2. Gluten is a protein found in high concentrations in modern, hybridized varieties of wheat and other similar grains such as rye, barley and spelt that can irritate the digestive tract of sensitive individuals. Digestion actually begins in the mouth.
  3. Alkaline water can be beneficial in moderation if it is naturally alkaline—meaning that it is alkaline due to naturally occurring or added minerals such as those which occur in spring water. This may alleviate symptoms in the short term but leaves the door wide open for opportunistic pathogens to take advantage of the serious lack of endogenous, immune-enhancing good bacteria left in the wake of antibiotic use, which very quickly leads to serious digestive problems.
  4. But a juice every day for more than the short term for example, as part of a cleanse lasting a week or two is a recipe for digestive problems.
  5. And yet, that all changed once I began to heal my digestive tract and the underlying digestive problems using many of the guidelines that will be revealed later in this article, based primarily on Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

When you eat sweet foods, the sugar contained therein finds its way into your bloodstream and quite quickly at that. Your body maintains a very delicate balance of sugar levels in the blood; and a sudden influx from eating highly sweetened foods—especially if the sugar therein is refined—causes your blood sugar levels to spike.

In order to get things back under control, your pancreas begins to secrete insulin, which then safely transports the excess sugar out of your bloodstream.

Restriction Enzyme Digestion of DNA

This is a normal, healthy process; but like anything in excess, it leads to digestive problems. Over stressing it by consistently eating sugary or sweet foods whether or not you are aware of it greatly diminishes its ability to produce enzymes and your digestion suffers.

Over the course of weeks, months and years, this can severely affect the ability of the pancreas to function normally and your digestion is weakened as a result. A piece of fruit or two per day, if your digestion is in good working order, is fine and nothing to be concerned about.

However, if you suspect you may have digestive problems, it is best to avoid all sugar or limit your intake to a piece of fruit on occasion until your body gets back into balance. How Digestive Problems are Formed: Overview and Summary To summarize so far, the primary ways digestion is disrupted are as follows: