You’ve heard the old saying “You are what you eat.” And that’s true to a degree. You can’t get nourishment from food you don’t eat.
But when you really think about it, we’re actually each a product of what we eat, break down and are able to absorb. In other words, we are what we digest.
Digestion is a miraculous process our bodies undertake to break down everything we consume into smaller, usable particles. If everything works properly, these particles are absorbed in the intestines and into the bloodstream where they are transported throughout the body to nourish your trillions of cells.
Let’s face it, when you’re not digesting well, you don’t feel good. And when you don’t feel good, you’re not likely to be particularly functional…or happy.
Digestion – An Inside Look
The process of digestion starts in your mouth as chewing crushes food into smaller pieces. Your saliva adds enzymes that help break down any starches.
The food you swallow travels down your esophagus and into your stomach, where chemical digestion begins. Different acids work to convert food, especially proteins, into a substance called chyme, which then flows into the small intestine. This process normally takes 2–4 hours. Any longer than that, and you know that something’s wrong.
In the duodenum (an upper section of the small intestine), digestive juices like bile from the gallbladder and enzymes produced by the pancreas break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into smaller molecules. Most of the water and nutrients from chyme are absorbed into the bloodstream here. The remaining material is directed to the large intestine or colon. There, tiny microorganisms break down fiber, producing metabolites, vitamins B and K, and other usable nutrients. The leftover waste goes to the rectum for elimination.
Proper and efficient digestion provides the body with building blocks and other resources that create energy and provide needed repair and maintenance. All of the body’s other systems rely on the digestive system to function properly so they can work in harmony with each other. So supporting your digestive system truly supports your entire body. But sometimes things go awry.
Chew on This…
- According to the National Institutes of Health, about 25% of Americans experience indigestion.
- The global antacid market is estimated to reach $18.7 BILLION by December 2025. That’s a lot of plop-plop, fizz-fizz.
- Constipation is America’s most common gastrointestinal complaint…to the tune of 2.5 million doctor visits every year. That’s a lot of poop.
Gut Irritation – Did You Know?
- About 15% of Americans have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
- In western countries, women are impacted by IBS twice as much as men.
- IBS appears to run in families.
- New research links many symptoms of IBS with hypersensitive nerves in the wall of the GI tract. For some people, the gut nerves communicate differently with the brain, or the brain processes the information differently.
With tummy troubles literally affecting millions of us, good habits, a healthy diet and supportive supplementation are more important than ever. Start with some helpful habits.
10 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Digestion
Give your gut a head-start on digestion by choosing nutrient-dense foods. Reach for fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds. And use healthy oils whenever possible. Then try the following:
- Chew Your Food Well. Give your saliva the chance to begin breaking down starches. Chewing your food longer helps relieve some of the work from your digestive organs, and it may help alleviate some digestive heaviness, bloating and gas.
- Beware Fire Danger. Reduce your consumption of spicy or fried foods. If you’ve ever had hot curry bounce or felt the meat sweats start creeping in from eating too much bacon, you know what I mean. All of these can cause stomach irritation.
- Watch What You Sip. Limit your consumption of alcohol, carbonated drinks and excess coffee, which can also irritate the stomach. Water is your best friend when it comes to digestion. Its pH of 7 doesn’t slow down the process. It has zero calories, no fizz to make you burp and no caffeine to add to your stress.
- Slow Down. Fast eaters typically eat more food and gain weight since they don’t give their bodies enough time to feel satiated or full. What’s the hurry? Take your time. Enjoy every bite, and chances are your digestion will improve and your calorie count will drop.
- Chill Out. Find ways to relax and de-stress. Do you eat when you’re stressed? The hormone cortisol is linked to appetite, and cortisol levels increase when a person is under stress. Finding ways to cope with stress – including exercise, meditation, coloring, yoga or other modalities – can actually lead to improved digestion and reduced heartburn.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. Extra weight puts pressure on your abdomen and increases discomfort. And obesity is linked to more heartburn, not less.
- Don’t Smoke. People who smoke are more likely to get heartburn and have stomach ulcers than their non-smoking friends. Smoking also increases the risk for certain serious bowel conditions and gallbladder issues.
- Sit Up. Digestion is a top-down process, so getting horizontal with a full stomach inhibits help the proper flow of food and gastric juices. Don’t make a habit of lying down after eating or eating right before bed. And if you experience heartburn or indigestion, sit up or stand up if possible.
- Don’t Stuff Yourself. Overeating makes you overfull. And healthy digestion requires a little elbow room. Watch your portions and avoid “eating until you’re stuffed.” Remember, it can take your brain up to 20 minutes to realize that you are full. Give it time.
- Avoid Problem Foods. These might be spicy, greasy, pickled, dairy or anything that’s over-processed. Even eating healthful foods like an apple every day for 10 days can upset digestion, depending on your body’s tolerance. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel for 24 hours afterwards, and steer clear of known trouble-makers.
The term indigestion includes gas, discomfort, gastric reflux and a feeling of fullness after starting to eat. Indigestion is often caused by lifestyle, food, drink, medicine or stress. In some cases, digestive discomfort results from a lack of enzymes or digestive juices. Supporting the body with a healthy diet, lifestyle choices and certain enzymes or other natural supplements can greatly support the digestion process.
Supplements that Support Smooth Digestion
The Breakdown You Actually Want
Foods are made up of protein, fat and carbohydrates (starch). Digestive enzymes are specialized proteins that help the body convert these foods into usable units:
- Protein into amino acids
- Carbohydrates and starches into glucose
- Fats into fatty acids
The digestive system provides its own digestive enzymes, but we get more from our diets. When the diet doesn’t contain enough fresh or plant-based foods or is high in over-processed foods, we may lack sufficient enzymes to break foods down into smaller particles. Supplementing with digestive enzymes helps relieve the burden on your digestive organs.
Food Enzymes enhances digestion by adding to your body’s own production of enzymes. A blend of betaine hydrochloride, bromelain, lipase, pepsin and other natural ingredients helps you digest foods better, so you can receive maximum nutritional value and avoid occasional indigestion.
Proactazyme supplies extra digestive enzymes to help lessen the burden on your digestive system. These include amylase, proteases, glucoamylase, lipase, cellulase, invertase, malt diastase, peptidase and alpha-galactosidase. This formula also contains a botanical blend of fennel, gentian and ginger to further boost digestion.
Don’t Stop Excreting
With apologies to Journey, toilet time isn’t about reading articles and setting new Candy Crush high scores. Elimination is important, and it should be quick and easy. Stay open for business and keep your schedule free and clear by managing the flow naturally.
Lower Bowel Stimulator
Want results? This top-selling botanical formula restores balance in your universe by helping you go. Key ingredients include cascara sagrada bark, buckthorn bark, licorice root, capsicum fruit, ginger rhizome and Turkey rhubarb root. These and other plants in the blend provide support for the lower bowel and help maintain regularity.
This popular blend provides a mild alternative for those who may be sensitive to stimulant laxatives. It works three different ways to promote regularity…in a gentle way.
- Osmotic nutrients like magnesium help increase the amount of water in the colon to soften stool and make elimination easier.
- Triphala extract, an Ayurvedic blend, provides fiber that increases the bulk in stool and encourages healthy bowel activity.
- Mild stimulant laxatives, including marshmallow and slippery elm bark, provide soothing action to the digestive tract while yellow dock and ginger support digestion.
Soothe Irritation with a Little Help from Mother Nature
Don’t just live with it. Get natural support for an irritated bowel, and enjoy more of life! Along with wise dietary choices, soothing herbs and fibers can help you feel better.
Specially designed to help soothe an irritated gut, this bulk powder also helps cleanse the digestive system. Key ingredients include:
- Apple pectin, with bulking properties and gel-like consistency that helps move waste along
- Slippery elm bark, which also has soothing, gel-like properties for smooth elimination
- Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) that help maintain regularity and support the elimination of toxins
- Flax, a soluble fiber that also soothes the bowel
- Marshmallow root, which adds soothing fiber
- Peppermint to aid digestion
- Plus chamomile flowers, fennel seed, cat’s claw (for digestive support) and natural flavor
Intestinal Soothe & Build
Just as you would soothe a fussy teenager or oil a squeaky hinge, you can soothe a fussy gut. This all-natural, encapsulated blend features slippery elm bark, chamomile flowers and marshmallow root to relieve occasional bloating and pressure, soothe an upset gut, promote detoxification and support the intestinal system. Chamomile is a traditional digestive relaxant and helps promote digestion. Marshmallow contains mucilage that may support mucous membranes along the digestive tract. Slippery elm can help soothe the inner lining of the stomach and intestine.
Almost no matter where or how you live, toxins creep in. They’re in our air, water and soil. In plastic packaging, household cleaners, hair and personal care products, carpeting, furniture, new cars, dental work. Not to mention gasoline, adhesives and markers.
Cleansing the bowel on a regular basis helps remove many toxins from the body so they don’t have time to build up and do damage. After a detox, you might find yourself feeling lighter, thinking more clearly and enjoying a greater sense of well-being. And detoxification is simpler than you might think. Just choose a program and stick to it. And be sure to eat lots of fresh produce and drink plenty of pure water or juices along with your supplements.
Hasta la vista, heavy metals. Get rid of these and other toxins with a clinically studied blend of fibers, vegetables and fruits that activate your body’s natural detoxification pathways. UltraBiomeDTX helps purify and strengthen your gut by removing the bad stuff and supporting a healthy gut lining. It also helps balance friendly bacteria, optimize nutrient absorption and provides sustained energy. It even supports a balanced glucose response. Convenient stick packs mix in water or juice and go anywhere you go.
Don’t let toxins damage your health. Keep things fresh! Bowel Detox provides a unique blend of fibers (psyllium hulls, algin, apple pectin), herbs (cascara sagrada, ginger), detoxifiers (charcoal, chlorophyll and bentonite) and digestive enzymes to support digestion, cleanse the bowel and encourage regular elimination of waste from the colon.
Send in the Reinforcements
Having enough friendly bacteria, or probiotics, is absolutely vital to gut and immune health. Replenish your gut microbiome with billions of living, friendly flora every day. These good guys are on your side and can help you win more battles in the gut.
Get 11 different strains of probiotics for a variety of health benefits:
- Supports digestive and intestinal health
- Supports the repopulation of beneficial bacteria in the gut
- Provides immune system support
Probiotic Eleven features 18 billion CFU of 11 strains of live beneficial bacteria per serving: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, L. acidophilus, L. brevis, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, Streptococcus thermophilus, B. infantis, B. longum, L. casei and L. salivarius. It also contains inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides—prebiotics that feed the friendly flora growth in the intestinal tract.
The Benefits of Spring Cleaning (and Fall, and Winter, and Summer)
Wiping down your kitchen counters every week is a good way to keep things looking tidy. But every homeowner knows that a good deep scrubbing of counters, cabinet doors, baseboards and even walls is the only way to know that this well-used room is truly clean.
The same thing goes for your gut. A daily fiber supplement definitely helps move things through the body. But an occasional internal “scrub” with cleansing herbs, detoxifiers, fresheners and other natural ingredients helps deep-clean the bowel for a fresh reset.
Over the years, bad eating habits, environmental toxins and unfriendly bacteria in the colon can put undue and harmful stress on the gut and the entire body. CleanStart supports your natural cleansing and detoxification processes. This 14-day program:
- Supports waste elimination with 3-4 grams fiber per serving
- Facilitates bowel movement with cascara sagrada, a key element of Lower Bowel Stimulator
- Helps detox the bowel with aloe vera, chlorophyll, bentonite clay and our botanical blend aptly named Enviro-Detox
Drink plenty of water for a fresh clean start on digestive health. Choose Wild Berry, Apple-Cinnamon or Mild (with Gentle Move instead of Lower Bowel Stimulator).