Laughter makes you ten years younger. And- guess what?!? Healthy digestion is the secret to a long life.
Did you know that how well we digest our meals determines how quickly we age?
While there are other factors involved, a healthy gut often indicates a healthy immune system, a strong mind and hormonal balance.
While eating on the go or whenever you can fit food into your schedule may seem like no big deal, your body reads this as stress.
This means eating in the car, while standing up or walking around, eating late at night and before bed, or even when we eat foods for emotional comfort.
Study after study shows that stress has a negative impact on the body. One of the biggest effects that stress has is how it impacts our digestive health!
Both lack of sleep and lack of routine can throw your body into a tailspin. Think about:
The sympathetic nervous system is what is in charge of the flight-or-fight response. When we activate the sympathetic, which is easy to do with irregular sleep patterns or irregular eating habits, we activate the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol shuts down digestive function. It also inhibits the immune system.
This means that when the sympathetic system is active, we are not fully digesting our meals. It also means that our bodies are more susceptible to infection.
This is why air travel, long work hours or a hectic work schedule can lead to digestive issues or frequent colds.
Over time, constant stress can affect the entire hormonal system.
What happens when we are not in a fight-or-flight stress response?
When the stress response is not active, this tells the body that it is safe to fully digest our meals. This is when the parasympathetic system is active.
When the parasympathetic system is active:
1. Sit down to eat.
This especially important if you have digestive issues like heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. When you eat, be sure you are in a calm and relaxed state of mind. Get rid of distractions. Focus on nourishing your body.
2. Eat at consistent, regular times throughout the day, every day.
Remember the stress hormone cortisol? It gets released when blood sugar levels drop too low. While you may not perceive stress, your body does!
3. Avoid eating for emotional comfort.
When we eat foods for emotional comfort, these foods are usually starchy. This is because most starchy carbs encourage the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes the body and the mind feel good. Seems like a great idea? Think again. These foods can also lead to a crash in blood sugar.
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