Proper Digestion:
The Center of Optimal Health

The process of taking in food and transforming that food into life energy is one of the most important aspects of a person's health. So important is this process, that the Chinese consider the digestive function to be at the center of a persons health; so much so that without having a healthy digestive system, nothing else in the body will function properly. Today, more and more seemingly unrelated conditions are being found to have their origin in an unhealthy digestive system

First, let's take a look at what can go right in your digestive system:

The Healthy Digestive System. . .

. . .starts in the mouth, where the food is broken down into smaller particles by chewing and mixed with the salivary enzymes that begin the process of digestion. Then, the food is swallowed and is pushed through the esophagus to the stomach. The highly acidic environment of the stomach serves both as the first step in the transformation of proteins into the amino acids your body can use, and to help protect the body against external pathogens such as Parasites and unhealthy bacteria (by the way, it is estimated that nearly 8 out of 10 Americans harbor one or more intestinal parasites).

After the food has been processed by the muscular and chemical actions of the stomach, the chyme (which is what your food is now called) passes into the first part of the small intestine, where it is mixed with the enzymes from the pancreas, and bile from the liver/gallbladder. The pancreatic enzymes further the process of digestion by continuing the breakdown of the proteins into amino acids, the carbohydrates and sugars into glucose, and the fats into fatty acids.

In the next phase of the small intestine, the components of the food are absorbed and actively transported through the intestinal walls into the blood stream. Then the blood goes directly to the liver via the portal circulation for detoxification and storage of excess glucose as glycogen.

The remaining combination of undigested and indigestible food and fiber passes to the large intestine (colon). In the large intestine, the friendly bacteria feast on the leftovers of your properly digested and absorbed meal. As a side benefit, they further break down fibers into short chain fatty acids that actually nourish and protect the lining of the intestine.

The water, minerals and other components like cholesterol (from the bile) are absorbed and sent to the liver and then the rest of the body. What's left eliminated through the feces.


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