If you’re the kind of person who thinks eating all the right things (a.k.a. veggies and grass-fed, lean meat) and hitting the gym a couple times a week is all you need to do to get fit and healthy, then this one’s for you!
Proper digestion can literally change the way you feel and the course of your health!
When I’m talking about proper digestion, I’m talking about the body’s ability to eliminate waste. It should take about 12 to 24 hours for food to pass through the digestive tract – this is TOTAL transit time. A person with healthy digestive habits will have a large bowel movement (what I like to call a “complete elimination”) at least once a day. A complete elimination happens when ALL waste is eliminated from the bowel. (Hint: If you wipe and it’s not clean, you didn’t get it all. It’s not a complete elimination).
I know you’ve heard the saying, “what goes up, must come down.” I have to admit that I’m still not entirely sure what that saying is all about, but I’ve come to know and believe in a similar saying: “what goes in, must come out!” Input should equal output, and if all is running (or should I say, “moving”) smoothly, output should equal input! I think you can see where I’m going with this…
Although there are numerous reasons why digestion is vitally important for optimal health, I want to give you three specific reasons why you should focus more of your energy on improving your digestion (but keep eating those veggies and hitting the gym, too).
1. 70-80% of the immune system is found in the gastrointestinal tract (gut). The immune system is just that, a system, which is primarily located within the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a large system as well and, as you might expect, is primarily located within the gut! The part of the lymphatic system that takes place in the gut has a specific name, known as the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT).
To understand the importance of this information, I think we need to better understand what happens when the immune system becomes compromised. As you might expect, a person could get a runny nose or a cold when their immune system becomes compromised. But in addition to that, they could also develop more serious illnesses and diseases. The immune system is the body’s army, or defense system, fighting all disease that enters the body.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “disorders of the immune system can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and cancer.” That’s right, a strong immune system can offer protection against almost all illnesses and diseases, even those for which a cure is unknown.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that “a strong immune system may offer protection from seasonal illness such as the flu and other health problems including arthritis, allergies, abnormal cell development and cancers.”
2. The gut is where almost all nutrients are absorbed from the food you eat. Many people use the saying, “you are what you eat.” However, especially for those with digestive issues (96-99% of the population), you are not what you eat –you are what you absorb. Even if you’re eating a spinach salad with a side of asparagus every night with dinner, you’re only as healthy as the number of nutrients your gut is capable of absorbing.
Nearly 90% of nutrient absorption happens in the small intestines. At this point, the nutrients are deposited into the bloodstream where they are used by the body. When waste isn’t moving through the intestines, it is blocking the ability of the intestines to properly absorb nutrients. A healthy gut and proper digestion will lead to better nutrient absorption!
This leads me to the next reason why proper digestion is so important…
3. What you do not eliminate, you accumulate! It is very important to eliminate waste from the body. When waste is not eliminated from the body, it doesn’t just stay in the bowel - it recirculates through the body, leading to more toxicity, inflammation and stress on the body and organs.
I hope you’re starting to see that improving your digestion REALLY IS one of the greatest things you can do for your health! And if I haven’t convinced you yet, let me leave you with one more thought. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “ALL disease begins in the gut.”
I believe this to be true for many different reasons, but primarily for the reasons listed above. When the gut is unhealthy, leading to suboptimal digestion, the body is incapable of absorbing the nutrients it needs. As if that isn’t bad enough, our immune system is also much more likely to become compromised, considering the large majority of the immune system is located within the gut. On top of all that, when we aren’t eliminating our stool, it begins to recirculate throughout our body, leading to unwanted stress, toxicity and inflammation.
As I’ve stated, 96-99% of the population suffers from some sort of digestive issue, and I want you to know that I am part of this large majority of the population. In no way am I above the information I am sharing with you. I share this information with you because it has impacted my life in such a strong and profound way. Having this information has changed my life in a positive way, and I want it to change your life and your health, too!
Please hear me when I say that I want to help you.
If you don’t know whether or not you suffer from digestive issues, err on the side of caution (actually, err on the side of health) and just assume that you do! At least assume that your digestion could probably be improved! Better digestion is for all people, not just those with cancer.
There are numerous different cell forms (at least five) I can see during a live blood cell screening indicating digestive issues that need to be addressed. This will allow us to discuss a plan of action to get you eliminating waste from your bowel better! Please give me a call or send me an email to schedule your appointment today!
Plus, I have other blogs that will provide you with more detailed information about digestive health. A blog about “good” gut bacteria can be found here and a blog about good food combining can be found here. And if you’ve ever taken an antibiotic, you’ll also want to read my blog about the side effects of antibiotics here.
Adding kombucha (a sweet and tangy fermented tea beverage) to your daily regimen is one very beneficial thing you can do to better improve your digestion. Kombucha is rich in probiotics (good gut bacteria) and is an easy, fun and cost-effective way to improve your digestion. For more information on kombucha, read my blog here and watch my YouTube video here.
Elizabeth Shepard, BS
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