The Journey of Digestion - Part 2

In the first blog on Digestion, we learned the importance of chewing our food – even the liquid shakes & smoothies as digestion begins in the mouth (actually it begins before that first bite enters your mouth – the saliva glands start working at the first scent or thought of food).

So what happens now that the food has been broken down by the teeth & saliva? If all goes according to plan, this food (now considered bolus with the added saliva) will travel passed the epiglottis (helps divert food from going down our windpipe) & into the esophagus toward the stomach. It will take approximately six minutes to make the journey.

It’s right about here that some people already have issues with their digestive system – heartburn, acid reflux, GERD and hiatus [hiatal] hernia. The “doorway” between the esophagus and stomach is the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a one-way passage that keeps the stomach acid from coming back up.

Unfortunately, the consumption of too much coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and most particularly sugar and processed food, weakens the LES. Most people think that when they experience acid reflux, there is too much acid in the stomach and in truth, there is too little hydrochloric acid (HCL)(Dx = hypochlorhydria).

An easy way to remedy this is with lemon water and/or fermented unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) in water. Personally I like to combine six ounces of water with a tablespoon of ACV and the juice of one lemon. Alternatives include adding 1/8 tsp Cheyenne pepper (reduces bloating) and local raw honey to give it a little boost of sweetness [also probiotics]; as I have to warn you, it is an acquired taste. The benefits of this combination are too many to list in this blog – I highly recommend doing your own research.

So now that our “bolus” has made it to the stomach, the HCL combined with enzymes help break it down even further, into what is now called “chyme". By the way, our carbohydrates start breaking down in the mouth, and proteins are broken down in the stomach by the enzyme pepsin. On average, 50% of the stomach contents are emptied 2½-3 hours after eating, and completed within 4-5 hours.

Common digestive issues that occur in the stomach are:

  • Gastritis – inflammation of the stomach lining

  • Gastro Paresis – inability to perform muscle contractions (peristalsis) whereby the stomach doesn’t completely empty, causing nausea and vomiting

Gastritis can be caused by many factors, including

  • Infection

  • Stress

  • Diet

  • Pain medications

  • Eating disorders

  • Alcoholism

Healing herbs for gastritis include:

  • Fresh ginger

  • Peppermint

  • Chamomile

  • Fennel

  • Oregano

  • Turmeric

Foods to Avoid with Gastritis

  • Coffee

  • Chocolate

  • Alcohol

  • Fried foods

  • Sugar

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Processed foods

  • High fat dairy products

Good Foods for Gastritis

  • Milk Kefir

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Fresh juices

  • Whole grains

  • Lean meats

  • Coconut oil

  • Honey

  • Blackstrap molasses

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Gastro Paresis remedies

  • Eat several small meals

  • Wait 2 to 3 hours before lying down

  • Meals low in fiber and fat

  • Relax before eating, and eat slowly

  • Eat well-cooked fruits & vegetables rather than raw

  • Soft and liquid foods – these are easier to digest

Good Foods for Gastro paresis

  • Pineapple

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Aloe Vera

  • Cranberry

  • Ginger

  • Papaya

  • Bone broth

Our Digestive Journey continues as we travel through the small and large intestines, and ultimately leaving the body as poop.

Until then,

To Your Health & Happiness,

Michele Root ~ Empowering You!

Image: Gastritis

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen and any/all medications you are currently taking and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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                      dba Michele Root~Empowering You!

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