If you want to improve your energy levels, then fixing your diet is one of the very best things you can do. When you get the right nutrients in your diet and the right energy sources, you start feeling healthier and more energetic all around.
But fixing what goes into your diet is only one part of the challenge. Just as important and just as difficult is making sure that what you’re eating is actually able to make it through and into your system.
In other words: are you actually digesting those nutrients and absorbing them in order to get their full benefit? And is your body able to digest your food quickly and without placing a major strain on your energy levels?
How Your Digestion Works
Digestion begins when you start chewing. In your mouth, your four types of teeth (incisors, canines, molars and premolars) break food down along with your saliva and the enzymes contained therein. The result is a ‘mush’ that’s known as ‘bolus’. When you swallow this, it moves into your stomach to get broken down by more enzymes and stomach acids. Muscles churn the mixture up further and the result is something known as ‘chyme’.
Chyme then passes through the small and large intestine and then finally out the other end. Here, yet more enzymes help to break it down further while villi and microvilli absorb the nutrients into the blood for your body to use.
How to Improve Your Digestive System
So what can you do to start digesting your food better?
One simply strategy is to chew for longer. This will allow the enzymes bromelain and amylase to do their job while the food is still in your mouth and will help break down the food into a more palatable material.
Another tip is to stay hydrated and to drink a lot while eating. Not only will this help to break down food even more and to lubricate your throat as the food passes through but it will also allow your body to produce more enzymes – as they are made at least partially from water.
You can also try getting additional enzymes with your food. These can be taken as supplements (simply called ‘digestive enzymes’) or they can come from our diet itself. Eating things like apples, oranges and pineapple for instance will all provide you with more natural enzymes to break down your food with.