The digestive system extends from the lips and oral cavity to the rectum and anus. The food is taken in by the digestive system and broken down into protein, fat and carbohydrates. Through this metabolic process, the body converts food into energy and the building blocks of life for growth and repair. After absorbing these nutrients, the digestive system then eliminates the waste.
Your digestive health determines whether you will have a vibrant and active life or one of discomfort and disease. When the digestive system is malfunctioning, it sends a distress signal. The most common signal is bloating. If your digestive system is sending you an SOS, here are some things that you can do to help it.
Modify Your Diet
When you heat foods above 48°C, you destroy valuable enzymes. Adding raw and cultured vegetables to your meals gives you the enzymes you need to eliminate bloating.
Fresh pineapple is a delicious way to rescue your beleaguered digestive system. Pineapple is oftentimes used as a meat tenderizer because it contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. If meat is on your menu, you might want to include some pineapple on the side or in a fruit salad.
A common reason for bloating is irregular elimination. Adding fibre-rich foods keeps your digestive tract healthy and makes the system more efficient. Look for ways to add more fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals to your regimen. When you add fibre to your diet, you need to go slowly to give your intestines time to adjust. A fibre-rich diet is a good way to maintain healthy digestion.
Change Your Table Manners
Digestion begins in the mouth. You should chew thoroughly to mix your food with the enzymes in your saliva. The salivary enzymes begin the digestion of fat and starches. Slow and thorough chewing also reduces bloating by reducing the amount of air you swallow when you eat.
Large meals are also a common reason for feeling bloated. If you feel uncomfortable after eating, you can try eating six small meals instead of three large ones.
Another way to reduce bloating is to reduce the amount of liquids you have with your meals. Drinking too much water dilutes your digestive enzymes and stomach acids.
Some people may benefit from the use of supplemental enzymes. The following list provides some selected enzymes and the food proteins that they digest:
• amylase carbohydrates, starches, sugars
• invertase sucrose
• lactase lactose
• lipase fat
• sucrose complex sugars and starches
Dietary supplements contain several different enzymes for coverage of the proteins typically eaten during a meal. Supplemental enzymes can also be packaged as single ingredients to address lactose intolerance or excess gas from beans and cruciferous vegetables.
Hippocrates once said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." Making informed decisions about what you eat can help you achieve optimal digestive health and eliminate bloating.
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