Digestion is the first phase of the nutrition of living beings. It is a fundamental step for survival, which allows you to introduce and transform nutrients into substances easily assimilated by the body. These substances, once reduced to simpler molecules, constitute the body's energy reserves and are also used to maintain its own structure, such as muscles and bones.
To understand how digestion works, we must first take a look at the digestive system. This is composed of numerous organs, which start from the mouth and affect the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, intestine, but also pancreas and liver. The digestive tract begins with the first stage of digestion: the chewing that occurs in the mouth, and ends, after having transformed the nutrients, with the expulsion of the faeces.
In summary, digestion:
• Turn food into nutrients suitable for absorption
• Bring nutrients all over your body
• Eliminates waste
Digestion begins in our mouth: almost 70% of the process of transformation of the nutrients that we introduce with food takes place in the first phase. The chewing, in fact, allows to chop the food to facilitate its absorption. Saliva enzymes begin the transformation of food into simpler molecules. Proper chewing is essential for optimal digestion.
In a second phase, the so-called food bolus, or the morsel of food chewed and mixed with saliva, is swallowed and passes through the esophagus, which is coordinated with tongue, larynx and pharynx in order not to interrupt breathing. By contracting, the esophagus passes the food bolus through the stomach.
Once in the stomach, it is passed to the actual digestion. Before eating, our senses communicate to the brain that it is time to feed. Then the feeling of hunger and the stomach begins to secrete the first gastric juices, to be able to accommodate the food bolus and digest it. Once in the stomach, the food is partially broken up by the gastric juices for about an hour. Only at this point the bolus passes into the duodenum, and then reaches the intestine.
Digestion is at the centre of the functioning of our body. To digest well is essential to provide the body with the nourishment it need to sustain our lives. A malfunction at any level of digestion can lead to small or large health problems of various kinds. Chewing too little and too quickly can slow down the digestion and cause bloating, intestinal gas, dyspepsia, stomach ache, but also a limited absorption of nutrients.
Excessive production of gastric juices can cause stomach acid, heartburn and stomach ache, gastritis and reflux or inflammation of organs such as the esophagus. One of the most common symptoms of poor digestion or slow digestion (also called dyspepsia) is, however, drowsiness, fatigue, heaviness of the stomach and halitosis, also due to the frequent belching.
A slow and difficult digestion is a very common and often it’s a transitory phenomenon. The main symptoms include:
• Stomach ache
• Abdominal swelling
• Stomach heaviness
• Stomach acidity
There are many factors that influence digestion. The causes of a slow digestion can be:
• Use of some medicines
• Food intolerance
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Poor circulation
• Bacterial infections or stomach inflammation
• Incorrect or excessive food supply
The majority of times a poor digestion and the resulting stomach ache depend on an unhealthy diet. Eating too much, eating just before going to bed, eating processed, fried, heavy foods or eliminating certain nutrient groups are often the most frequent causes of difficult digestion. Here are the best natural remedies for a good digestion:
• Temperature: all phases of digestion require heat. For this it is advisable to eat and drink substances at room temperature, or rather at body temperature, between 36 and 38 degrees. Absolutely avoid frozen or hot drinks.
• Chew: chewing slowly and carefully chopping the morsels of food is central to reduce the workload in the stomach and facilitate digestion.
• Do not eat too much
• Avoid fruit and sweets at the end of a meal
• Do a little bit of movement
• Use spices in the kitchen, such as turmeric, anise, cumin, fennel and ginger that stimulate digestion
• Help yourself with some teas, such as liquorice or aniseed
• Nutrition is a fundamental factor for good digestion. Here's what to eat and what to avoid:
• Avoid coffee, alcohol and smoking
• Do not eat fried
• Avoid long cooking or very complex dishes
• Avoid saturated and trans fats
• Start the meal with raw fresh vegetables, such as fennel
• Season the food with extra-virgin olive oil or hemp oil
• Cook foods briefly, avoiding high temperatures
• Eat fibres, complex carbohydrates and good fats in the right quantities
• Be sure to introduce enough vitamin B, essential for digestion
Superfoods can also facilitate digestion and avoid an upset stomach. Here is the list of the best:
Buddha’s Awakening: our entire range of instant breakfasts Buddha's Awakening provides the right intake of vitamins and minerals, fibres, proteins and fats to stimulate digestion. Buckwheat provides a great supply of fibre, which nourishes good gut bacteria.
Sprouted Oats: our range of super-oats for breakfast offers an excellent supply of fibre, which stimulate digestion and bring the precious vitamin B. Oats have always been known for their digestive properties!
Turmeric and Black Pepper: a precious spice, like gold! It is not by chance that it has the same colour! It helps digestion and disinfects the stomach. We added a pinch of black pepper, because piperine is the substance that activates curcumin, the main active ingredient of turmeric.
Chia seeds: they are able to absorb large amounts of water and can help fight constipation, one of the problems most frequently related to poor digestion.