Digestive Health

Bee on butterfly weed
In my last article, we talked about cellular health and how it is the most foundational part of good health. And as I said in that article, we are only as healthy as our cells. As our cells become healthier, we want to make sure that they are getting the nourishment they need. Which brings us to the next most important piece - our digestion.

Let's start with some basics on the digestive process. As you may know, digestion begins in the mouth. It is one of the reasons why many herbalist believe that it is important to taste your herbs. The digestive process continues in your stomach and completes in your small intestine. Digestion is also assisted by the liver and pancreas which create digestive juices that work in the small intestine. The purpose of the digestive system is to take in the nutrients that we need in order to provide the body with the raw materials it needs to perform all its functions.

Red fringed leaf
Other things to remember are that many of your neurotransmitters are made in the small intestine and 60-80% of your immune system resides in the gut also, making proper digestion and intestinal health even more important.

How does digestion get out of balance? There is so much talk of inflammation even in the medical field. It is a fairly safe assumption that most Americans have some sort of bowel inflammation and aren't getting all the nutrients they need from their food. When I was thinking about this concept I thought of an experience I had last summer. I mulch my garden just like most people do. We had so little rain that the mulch turned into this hard, solid mass covering my garden. When the rain finally came, the water simply ran off the mulch and never got to the soil beneath. Needless to say I broke up the mulch for the next rain. Well, an inflamed bowel won't be that bad, but you get the idea. An inflamed bowel, often caused by candida or infection, will not be able to take in and use the nutrients that a healthy bowel will.

Pink tipped flower
How you eat, when you eat, and what you eat all play an important part in healthy digestion. And it goes without saying that stress greatly impacts digestive function.

Our large intestine is the main drain for excretion, so if we are constipated, re-toxification occurs causing more complications in our journey toward health. In summary, the digestive system is the hub of the whole body, so why not keep it as healthy as possible!


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