When it comes to digestion, is it more important to focus on what we eat, or how we eat?
The health of your body is largely dependent on what you do all the time. Patterns of movement and behaviors add up to create the posture that you have, and this will largely determine the flow of energy and fluids in your body. So, becoming conscious of the things that you do every day is a great way to take control of how your body ages.
Eating is a prime example. So many people look at what you eat as being the major contributor to things like your size and shape, gut health, energy levels . . . the list goes on. But what if how you eat is just as important in determining how your body breaks down food, absorbs nutrients and eliminates waste. There is a mechanical process to breaking down food, so the mechanics of how you eat should be observed.
The first thing to note is how you chew your food. So many people are in a rush when they eat or use this time to connect with others. As lovely as it can be to dine with friends and family, talking and chewing are 2 very different actions that require the same muscle – the tongue. To prepare the food to enter the stomach, it needs to be liquid. Unfortunately, most don’t chew sufficiently, inevitably swallowing whole chunks. Also, there is an enzyme in the mouth that creates the first stage of breakdown to prepare for entry to the stomach. If this stage is missed from insufficient chewing, the stomach becomes stressed.
Once the food enters the stomach, the next stage of digestion takes place. Energy is required to continue this process, and part of that energy comes from the act of diaphragmatic breathing. When this muscle functions as it should by moving up and down in the core, there is a continual massage to the stomach organ. This helps the process of digestion. However, most people are breathing through the muscles of the upper chest.
There are a couple of reasons why this will negatively impact digestion.
Firstly, if the diaphragm isn’t being exercised, it becomes weak. It is the foundation of the ribcage and sits right on top of the stomach, as well as the other abdominal organs. The weakness causes a collapsing of everything above to come crashing down into the core, displacing the organs and putting tremendous stress on them. Imagine if you had an elephant sitting on your chest – it would be hard to breathe. With this pressure on the stomach, it challenges the organ to perform optimally.
Also, for the upper chest breather, there is little to no movement occurring in the diaphragm. Where there should be a continual massage occurring to the stomach, it now doesn’t have that additional energy to assist with digestion. The area becomes cooler and all systems slow down when the temperature is below that which is optimal.
Of course, what we put into our body matters. However, I would say of at least equal importance is how we use our body to support this action of eating that, for many, is performed multiple times per day. We have a magnificent body that houses our soul and supports our life. Isn’t it worth taking the time to understand how to drive it properly so to be and feel the best you possibly can. We take care of so many parts of our life, and often give more time to the material things we own. Things can be replaced, your body can’t. Start to treat your body like it is your most prized possession. After all, it’s the only one you’ve got!
Breathe & Believe,
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