Blueberry Tips

8 Reasons You May Not Be Digesting Your Food Well

You can eat the best food in the world, but if you’re not digesting and absorbing it, your cells can’t get the nutrients that they need from the food you’re eating.  In my experience there are eight common reasons that people do not digest their food well.

8 common reasons people don’t digest their food well:

  • Not chewing enough
  • Low hydrochloric acid (HcL)
  • Not enough bile
  • Not enough digestive enzymes
  • Not enough fiber
  • Not enough water
  • Motility issues–food travelling through too fast or too slow

Many health issues begin because people are not fully digesting and absorbing their food.  

As Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut”, and he was *almost* 100 percent correct!  While we now know that not all disease begins in the gut, a good majority of diseases and health conditions have everything to do with the health of our gut.  And how well we digest our food is an indication of gut health.

Since this is so important I want to break down each of the above reasons for not digesting your food well.  I’ll explain why it’s a problem and offer actionable steps that can be taken in each of these areas.  This will be done in a series of posts that I’ll link together, and I’ll start with the first one–Not chewing your food well enough–with all fingers pointing at me!

I’m guilty of always being in a hurry, ready to go on to the next thing, and not paying a bit of attention to what I’m eating.  But I’m working on it!

Here’s what I’m telling myself so I can do better:

  • Our mouths have teeth for a reason! They mash our food into smaller pieces, which lessens the load on the rest of the digestive system and allows for better absorption of nutrients.
  • When you chew well, you get more saliva in your food. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

And the real kicker–

  • Chewing your food well can result in eating less! In a really cool study, one group chewed each bite of food 40 times and the other group chewed each bite 15 times.  The group that chewed 40 times consumed fewer calories.  They concluded it was because chewing stimulates the production of gut hormones that tell you that you’re full.

And here’s my game plan to slow down and help my food work FOR me, not AGAINST me:

  • Make the food look really good on my plate
  • Pause to appreciate it
  • Give thanks for it
  • Sit down to eat with no distractions other than conversation
  • Taste the food and savor the flavor
  • Chew each bite 30 times before swallowing (this is by far the hardest one to do!)

Stress is another factor that can lower your ability to digest your food.  It’s part of the WHY behind some of the other reasons for not digesting your food well, such as low stomach acid and low digestive enzymes, so I didn’t list it as a reason on it’s own.

But by following the simple practice that I’ve outlined above, stress naturally lowers, and we are better able to digest our food.

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