Digestive Enzymes And Probiotics: Get More Vitamins, Minerals, And Nutrition From Your Food
If you’re motivated to take charge of your health, chances are you’re putting some time and effort into eating right. You’ve researched on the healthiest food choices you can put into your body and now have these making regular appearances in your meal plan. You figure you’re set. You’re eating nutritious foods. You’re fueling your…
If you’re motivated to take charge of your health, chances are you’re putting some time and effort into eating right. You’ve researched on the healthiest food choices you can put into your body and now have these making regular appearances in your meal plan.
You figure you’re set.
You’re eating nutritious foods.
You’re fueling your body well.
And, soon, you should be feeling better than ever.
Except that you may not be.
One big issue that rarely gets talked about is the concept of assimilation, or put another way, the manner in which your body is able to absorb the healthy nutrients you are eating.
While putting the right foods in your body is a very large step in the equation, if your body is not able to use those foods correctly, guess how far this is going to take you?
The answer is quite clear – not far at all.
You need to be breaking down and using those nutrients correctly. This is where too many people in today’s world are going wrong.
Let me explain.
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The Process Your Food Goes Through
Let’s back up for a moment and talk briefly about what happens after you eat.
Most people currently believe that upon eating food, the food breaks down and the nutrients and energy move right into the cells of the body.
This is not how it works however. There are many steps involved before those nutrients get moved to your cells – steps that may be amiss in your current situation.
So let’s back up.
Step 1: Chewing
The first step that takes place is the chewing stage. You are chewing your food, breaking it down into smaller pieces. This kick-starts the digestive process, ensuring the food particles are small enough they can easily fit down your esophagus.
The simple act of chewing is already beneficial, but to add to this, we have saliva mixed in, which contains enzymes that further help to start breaking down your food.
So you chew and chew. Some people chew less than others and these are often those who suffer from gastrointestinal issues because their body now has to work overtime to break these large food particles down.
Number one then when it comes to improving your assimilation is to chew more. This also has the added benefit of slowing down the eating process, which could prevent you from eating more food than you should.
No one will ever not benefit from chewing a little more.
Step 2: Passage Of Food Through To The Stomach
The next step in the process is the passing of food from the mouth to the stomach. It’ll travel through the throat and then the esophagus as this long tube-like structure performs many contractions (called peristalsis) to help push the food down.
Step 3: Breaking Down The Food
Now the food is going to enter your stomach, which is where further breakdown takes place. Think of your stomach as the mixer and grinder, breaking down the tiny bits of food into a thick paste or liquid, depending on what you’ve eaten.
To assist with this process, you’ll need stomach acid as well as digestive enzymes. These are powerful enzymes that help to break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you eat.
Now, some foods naturally contain digestive enzymes. Pineapple and papaya are two excellent examples. Many foods don’t, however.
Additionally, there is evidence, as reported in the British Journal of Nutrition that diets that are deficient in protein will lower the secretion of digestive enzymes, which can also then reduce absorption of nutrients. As most people struggle to take in the protein they need on a daily basis, this also presents a problem.
So then you either need to rely on digestive enzymes that your body produces, or that you have added to your system.
This is where another large problem occurs. Most people in today’s world simply aren’t producing the digestive enzymes they need naturally. As such, they are not present in the stomach and the stomach is unable to do the job of fully breaking down the food you are eating.
Unless these digestive enzymes are therefore supplied, you are already behind where you should be in terms of assimilation.
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Step 4: Buffering
Now you get this thick paste or liquid passing from the stomach into the intestinal tract. As it’s just come from the stomach, it’s been combined with all your stomach acid and has a very high acidity level.
So now the main objective is to buffer those acids so that you don’t create ulcers, which are sores on the inner lining of the intestinal tract.
In order for this buffering process to occur, there needs to be an appropriate level of probiotics in your system. If you have an imbalance, it’s unlikely that your body will be able to control all the acid and as such, you’ll likely experience great pain after eating – especially the types of foods that cause the release of high levels of stomach acid.
Now it gets worse. If you don’t have the appropriate level of good bacteria (probiotics) in your system, this means that you’ll have an unhealthy level of bad bacteria.
If you think back to our lesson on probiotics, you should remember that you (ideally) will have about 10% good bacteria, 10% bad bacteria, and 80% opportunists in your system at any given moment.
When you lack the 10% good, you’ll have more than 10% bad. And these bad bacteria suck up the nutrients found in that liquid that’s come from the stomach.
So now, your food is not nourishing your body, but rather, it’s nourishing these bad bacteria, making the situation worse.
This is one big reason why it’s so critical that you are maintaining the proper supply of healthy bacteria in your system. If you aren’t, it’ll have a significant impact on your assimilation capability.
Step 5: Excretion
Finally, the last step in the digestive process is excretion, which is essentially eliminating the waste products (unabsorbed bits) out of the body.
This is where that thick paste passes out through the colon and is removed from the body.
If proper absorption of nutrients has not taken place, issues can occur here such as diarrhea or constipation. If something in the above steps is off, you can bet that elimination is not going to be taking place as it should be.
So there you have a closer look at the process of digestion. It’s a very complex and intricate system that involves many steps that all need to go off properly in order for full nutrition to be realized.
Now, there’s another big issue that we need to talk about that is involved with the idea of assimilation.
That issue? Toxicity.
How Your Food Has Become Toxic
Whenever you eat foods, you’re eating proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats. These are the basic building blocks that make up the food you eat and that supply the cells with the energy they need to carry out all the major tasks in the body.
Without each of these three macronutrients, as they’re called, you would never sustain optimal health.
The unfortunate thing is that in most of the food we eat today, there are other things tagging along with these proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats.
These things include substances such as sweeteners, fillers, binders, preservatives, food coloring, dyes, herbicides, and pesticides. Basically all substances that have been added to your food to enhance the taste, improve the texture and feel of the food in your mouth, or improve the shelf life of the food.
And while this may all be fine and dandy for your taste buds, it’s not for your body. Your body simply has not been around long enough to become genetically adapted to these substances and therefore is not able to process and break them down.
Your liver and kidneys don’t assimilate these like they do vitamins and minerals that you find in food, and as such, they begin to build up in the body.
These ‘toxins,’ so to speak, end up moving into fat cells for storage. It’s quite remarkable when looking at the end result of the process of liposuction. When the doctor removes the excess fat cells from the body and puts those cells under the microscope, it’s clear to see just how ‘dirty’ those cells really are.
It’s not just excess body fat moving into them, but all these waste products found in the foods you’re eating. These products have no business being inside your body, but since they came in through your mouth and your body didn’t know what to do with them, this is where they’ve ended up.
Over time, as this build-up continues to take place, your entire system becomes more and more toxic.
And, the more toxic it becomes, the less capable you are to perform all the basic tasks that are required to sustain life.
The more of these toxins you have in your system, the less digestive enzymes you are going to produce and the fewer the healthy bacteria you’ll have in your gut.
So essentially, the entire process of assimilation is on a downward spiral as you move towards a more toxic state.
Now you add to this that most people are dehydrated, meaning they don’t have proper flow of nutrients to the right places and instead, these nutrients you do need tend to get all bound up.
The end result of this entire issue is simply starvation of nutrition. Despite the fact that you are eating all the healthy foods you think you are, you aren’t actually reaping the benefits from those healthy foods.
You are literally starving your system, so to speak, of the nutrition that it needs.
Instead, you are polluting your body – and this is something I talk into much greater detail in with my book, Staying Alive In A Toxic World. If you want more information on this entire cycle, you’ll want to consider picking that up and giving it a read.
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What You Can Do
So this leaves you with two options. You can either sit back and do nothing, letting this toxic overload slowly take over your body until you come down with illness and disease.
Or, you can take action in the best manner possible.
If you choose the later, there are a few things to do – a daily ritual if you will.
Chew Your Food
One thing that you can easily control is your chewing. As we noted above, this is where it all starts, so don’t put yourself at a disadvantage before you even begin.
Chew your food well.
Take a few extra moments with each bite and make sure you are chewing things thoroughly. This will make everything else easier for your body.
Take A Quality Probiotic
Second is to make sure that you take a quality probiotic. Having those good bacteria in your body is your best line of defense when it comes to proper assimilation, as well as keeping your immune system strong.
Always remember that up to 80% of your immune system is in your gut. If you find yourself constantly falling ill with every cold or flu that circulates around, this is a very good sign that your immune system is not where it should be.
Most people are simply not consuming sufficient probiotic rich foods today to maintain adequate levels, therefore a probiotic supplement is a must.
Be sure that any supplement you take is properly formulated to thrive in your body such as our P3-OM probiotic is. It’s really the only way to maintain the 80-10-10 environment.
Consume Digestive Enzymes
Also be sure to take care to consume digestive enzymes. Having an assortment of these enzymes in your body is one of the top things that you can do to ensure that you are breaking down your food properly.
Without these, you can never hope to absorb the vitamins and minerals in your food nor can you hope to derive the energy that you should be.
Neglect digestive enzymes and you’ll be taking in calories without the reward. And, the more starved your body becomes for nutrition, the more calories you’ll want to eat, increasing your chances of weight gain.
I’d recommend taking these enzymes before you eat your meal, especially if you’re eating cooked food.
Finally, if you want to really top off your nutrition level, consider supplementation with a vitamin or mineral formula.
As it’s virtually impossible to get all the vitamins and minerals that you need from your diet alone, a proper formula can work very well to help you take in what you need for optimal functioning.
Just do be sure that you purchase a formula that your body is able to absorb and fully utilize.
Choose a liquid based vitamin and mineral for fastest and most effective absorption and do you research to ensure it does contain everything that you need.
So there you have the basic facts to know and remember regarding the process of assimilation. If you start focusing on this, making sure you are doing everything that you need to in order to absorb the nutrients that you do take in through your healthy food choices, you will be moving one step in the right direction.
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