Exciting topic right!? Here's a quick overview before we begin in case you want to jump ahead:
I used to get a lot of "tummy aches" before I learned where my stomach actually is. Your stomach is on your left side and lives just below the sternum and breastline.
You have 2 other very important organs that help with digestion: your small and large intestines.
First is your small intestines which is a small tube about 20 feet long. Just imagine your average green garden hose. They are about 25 feet long. So imagine that length of tubing all coiled up inside your abdomen. That is your small intestines. It is called "small" because it is a very narrow tube, only about an inch wide.
The second important organ is your large intestines which is commonly called your colon. Your colon is only 5 feet long, but is much wider than you small intestines. It is usually between 2 and 3 inches wide.
Each of these organs has its own responsbility in keeping you healthy and happy. You can think of digestion as a 3 stage process: Stomach, then small intestines (the gut), and finally ending up in the colon. Don't worry too much about the 3rd phase right now. I will explain the ins and outs of good colon health next month and explain why food sits in their for so long. I will share my top tips for colon health. And yes, I will discuss the good, the bad, and the poopy.
To start the journey of digestion, food enters your stomach where it is mixed with digestive juices (gastrin and pepsin). This mixture of food and digestive juices is called chyme. This all happens whithin 2 hours, which is a relatively short period of time compared to the 12-18 hours that this mixture stays in your colon. The second phase, which happens in your small intestines-commonly called "the gut"-usually takes between 4 and 6 hours.
The second phase is where the food is broken down into smaller molecules and abosrbed into your bloodstream to create energy, tissues, and cells. This phase starts when the chyme (food mixture) enters the top of your small intestines, the duodenum. This is where all the enzymes flood in to break down the food in to small molecules that will enter your bloodstream.
The next part of the small intestines is the jejuneum. This is where the main work of absorption starts to happen. There is a well known statement, "You are what your eat," that is only partially true. A more accurate statement is: "You are what you ABSORB." Without a well-functioning small intestine, you really aren't absorbing and benefitting from the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in your food.
You could be eating the most expensive, fancy, and healthy food ever, but if you aren't absorbing it, you are flushing your food and your money down the toilet!
Absorbing food and nutrients in your small intestines is crucial to your life, energy and health. But unfortunately, most Americans have damaged their small intestines by eating sugar, processed food, drinking caffeine, and taking medications. These substances actually damage the micro-villi, or small finger-like tissues, that absorb the nutrient molecules from your food. When the micro-villi are damaged, they actually lay over on their sides, like wilted flowers. When they are laying over, they aren't absorbing any nutrients, and worse, they are letting BIG food molecules pass into your bloodstream. This problem is referred to as "Leaky Gut."
Leaky Gut may not sound like a big deal, but it is implicated in causing gas, bloating, food allergies, food sensitivities, brain fog, moodiness, depression, infertility, psoriasis, arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos Disease, Reynauds Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and the list goes on. Do you have a health issue?---It may have begun with a leaky gut.
Over 2000 years ago Hippocrates said: "All disease begins in the gut." I think he was right.
There are 4 R's to restoring and maintaining a healthy gut:
1. Remove junk food, sugar, and other substances that damage your gut (micro-villi)
2. Replace with healing foods
3. Repair with supplements and nutrients
4. Re-balance with probiotics
Removing packaged and junk food can be very hard. If you need some coaching, you know I am here to help. I can provide you with meal plans, shopping lists and recipes. Just schedule a consult and start the journey.
Replace with healing foods. Guess what, this is easier than you think! If you downloaded my FREE ebook, Sippers and Smoothies, then you have already started using some healing foods. Each of these recipes includes healthy fats and Collagen Peptide powder. Fat and collagen are both healing and supportive of gut and micro-villi health.
Repair with supplements and nutrients. There is a broad range of supplements that I could recommend for repairing the gut. Later this month, I will reveal an amazing product that I stumbled upon accidentally.
Re-balance with probiotics. This month I will give you a primer on probiotics. These supplements seem to be everywhere the last few years. But which ones are helpful and which ones are junk? I have researched and tried over 50 products and I will give you the true story about these probiotic pills.
Restoring and maintaining good health in the small intestines (the gut) is an incredible feat in our modern junk food lifestyle and can be monumental in changing your health.
Do you have any questions about the small intestines or Leaky Gut? Post a comment to the blog and I am happy to respond. Do you have specific questions about how YOU can get healthy, be healthy, and stay healthy? Need one on one advice about your digestion? Schedule a consult with me. Trust me, I have been through a lot and I am here to help.
For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!
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