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 Homeopathy: Healthy Digestion 

Many diseases are silent and difficult to detect, but digestive dysfunction usually announces itself loudly and odorously through burps and flatulence, uncomfortably with distention, heartburn, cramps or nausea, messily through diarrhea and bleeding, or difficultly with constipation. It is hard to ignore digestive problems, although many people tolerate a low level of indigestion without seeking treatment or changing their eating habits. They may pop a Tums or R-O-L-A-I-D-S, but rarely do these really spell relief. Its only when some of these symptoms become extreme, or the results of indigestion and poor assimilation begin to affect general health that most people are willing to do something about their digestion.

What can you do to improve your digestion? There are many simple things you can do for yourself. Here are some basic guidelines that are sure to make a difference for you.

1. Just eat. Put your attention on the process of eating. Don't read, drive, talk on the phone, work or make love while eating if you can avoid it. Take time to have a meal, rather than catch your food on the run. When your attention is on the eating process, digestion isn't a distraction, it's the main event. Try eating in silence and you'll be amazed at how different your food tastes.

2. Eat slowly. This allows time for the signals from the senses to get to the brain and stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, muscular contractions and other processes necessary for digestion, before the food arrives. Pavlov's dogs salivated before the food arrived when their senses told them by association that the food was coming. Take time to look at, smell and savor your meals.

3. Chew well. Chew your food until it is liquid before swallowing. Chewing shreds fibers, mashes and macerates food and mixes it with saliva. If the food is not chewed properly, carbohydrate digestion is impeded and digestion may take much longer because the food does not have sufficient surface area exposed to the digestive juices for digestion to occur efficiently. Carnivores who often bolt their meet whole, without chewing, have much stronger digestive juices than human beings do, but for people, chewing is very important.

4. Don't wash your food down. Too much liquid with your meals may dilute the digestive juices you need. Try to drink liquid before your meals so you won't feel thirsty during the meal. Cold or iced drinks may interfere with digestion according to Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. A little liquid with the meal may not interfere with digestion and a glass of warm water with lemon juice l/2 hour before a meal may promote secretion of hydrochloric acid.

5. Don' t eat too much. Yoga recommends eating two double handfuls of food, two double handfuls of liquid, and leaving the stomach one third empty at the end of a meal. Stuffing yourself doesn't allow room for mixing the food, and overloads the whole system.

6. Observe food combining principles. According to food combining theory, starches and proteins don't mix nor do fruits and vegetables. This theory claims that sweet fruits and proteins are also a bad combination and that melons should be eaten alone or left alone. When you eat them together, indigestion may occur. Consult a food combining chart, or read Fit for Life for the details. Eating too many combinations at a meal, the smorgasbord or potluck syndrome, is, for many, a prescription for digestive disaster.

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 About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND, MSWJudyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
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