Digestion Progression
Better Nutrition|June 2021
How to deal with intestinal distress the natural way.
EMILY KANE, ND, LAC

Q: I often have embarrassing and painful intestinal distress. One doctor told me to take an antacid, but that only seemed to make things worse. I want to feel better, but I’m not sure where to start. Can you help?

A: The food you eat travels through a complex 30-foot long winding tube. Enzymes are secreted, and small muscles move things along mostly without needing your cooperation. However, there are many simple ways that you can help your digestive process, which is what turns food and drink into the agents of tissue repair and the ongoing energy for work and play that you enjoy every day.

First Things First: Slow Down

First, never eat in a hurry. If you don’t have time to sit, chew your food properly, and relax while eating, please wait until you can make time. This is a big request, admittedly. However if there’s one take-home message in this column, this is it.

Digestion is a parasympathetic function. That’s the opposite of sympathetic (also known as “fight or flight”). There is no way you can digest properly if you’re having an adrenaline rush. For the enzymes in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine to do their jobs, and for the muscular colon to move waste for elimination, you must be at least be somewhat relaxed. To put it plainly, if you want to feel better, you must make time for slow, peaceful eating.

As we age, we need less food. This is why I favor intermittent fasting as a way to both spend less time eating and greatly improve the quality of the eating experience. Two meals a day for folks over 55 is largely sufficient. I like to have one meal around 11:00–11:30 a.m. and another around 6:00–6:30 p.m.. Digestion can be enormously energy-consuming, which is why eating more than you need can age you quickly.

Drugs Aren’t the Long-Term Fix

Conventional doctors like to give names to bodily functions that don’t work optimally. In the digestive arena there’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome C (constipation), D (diarrhea), or M (mixed)—each with a list of recommended drugs. Then there are gastric ulcers, peptic ulcers, leaky gut, SIBO, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, gastroparesis, and other labels, each with an insurance-reimbursable code and corresponding prescription medicine. These interventions may improve symptoms, but they won’t fix your problem. The only way to do that is to restore your body’s natural digestive process.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BETTER NUTRITIONView All

Digestion Progression

How to deal with intestinal distress the natural way.

6 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

From No Meat to Grass-Fed Red Meat

Some vegetarians are rethinking the reasons they adopted a plant-only diet—and rediscovering high-quality animal protein, particularly pasture-raised meat.

7 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Light Summer Refresher

Take a break from hot weather with this antioxidant-packed, cooling treat

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Men's Health HANDBOOK

Advice for preventing and treating ailments that most commonly afflict men.

6 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

The Anti-Cancer Diet

Disease-proof your plate with science-backed foods shown to reduce cancer risk.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

5 Steps to Reverse Pandemic Weight Gain

How to shed the pounds you may have picked up after a year in social isolation.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

5 Reasons You Need NAC

It’s best known for promoting a robust immune response, but NAC does so much more—and new research suggests that it may even play a role in protecting against Covid-19.

3 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Collagen for Heart Health

This popular anti-aging supplement for joints and skin also boasts impressive cardiovascular benefits.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Are You Gluten Free And Healthy?

If you’ve developed unwanted weight gain or heart disease risk factors after eliminating gluten from your diet, better carb choices can help balance blood sugar and insulin levels to take you to a new level of health.

4 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

7 Super Brain Boosters

Maybe you find yourself trying to remember why you needed to go to the grocery store. Or wondering where you parked the car after a movie. Or questioning whether or not you’ve already fed the dog. If so, it might be time to consider adding some of these brain-enhancing herbs to your supplement routine.

8 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021
RELATED STORIES

UF/IFAS Professor Leads Effort to Establish Pomegranates in Florida

GROWING UP IN IRAN, Ali Sarkhosh worked on the family’s pomegranate farm, which has thrived for four generations.

3 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021

The Greening Challenge

Executive Director of CRDF Tweaks Approach to Research

4 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021

SIGNS of the SEASON

Cantaloupe Thrive in Florida’s Warm Climate

2 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021

Minor Scores Major Win

Longwood Boy Places Second in Inaugural Cooking Competition by PAUL CATALA photos provided

4 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021

GSA graduates 76 at June 13 commencement

BLUE HILL—Fair skies, seasonal temperatures, hugs, tears of joy, cheers and optimism set the tone for the George Stevens Academy Class of 2021 commencement.

3 mins read
The Weekly Packet
June 17, 2021

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

AS ANY TRUE FLORIDIAN WILL TELL YOU, June marks the beginning of the hurricane season. And while Floridians pride themselves on their unflappable nature when it comes to crisis prep, it would be reckless to think a hurricane couldn’t bring this state to its knees. The agriculture industry, in particular, has a lot to lose if a storm targets our state. And unlike the cone of certainty, one thing is certain: Hurricanes can, and have historically, taken a toll on the agriculture sector. The damage can be catastrophic.

1 min read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021

Longtime area pastor Vencill to come out of retirement

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Dr. Jacquelyn Brannen, Katahdin District superintendent, have appointed Rev. Gary R. Vencill to serve the Brooksville United Methodist Church and the Penobscot United Methodist Church effective July 1.

1 min read
The Weekly Packet
June 17, 2021

In The Heartland Highlands County

New UF/IFAS Extension Director Takes Lifetime Work in Ag, 4-H to the Next Level

3 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021

Grassroots group seeks collaborative solutions for climate adaptations

BLUE HILL—If you’ve noticed milder winters, warmer waters, and a spike in sweltering summer days, you’re not alone. “Many, many people, hundreds of people, told us that they’ve noticed over their lifetimes that Maine is warming up,” said Dr. Cassaundra Rose of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. “Climate change is already a reality for Maine.”

5 mins read
The Weekly Packet
June 17, 2021

Building Premier Blueberry Breeding Headquarters

TO BUILD A BETTER BLUEBERRY, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is building a better blueberry lab. By mid-2022, we expect to complete U.S. higher education’s premier blueberry breeding headquarters.

2 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
June 2021