The Processed Food Society
The quality of our food supply has shown to have an inverse relationship to the advancement of society. Fast food chains and convenience processed foods have become the staple in many countries as they grow, advance and commercialize. Greasy chicken, burgers, chips and soda have replaced vegetables, water, lean healthy meats and nuts as the primary food choice.
Convenience foods are also found at the local grocery store. Pre-packaged food items in boxes, cans and pre-made meals contain many of the same artificial nutrients as a fast food establishment. We must become smart consumers, identify poor dietary choices and reverse disease producing trends that impact us and most importantly our children.
Lack of Digestive Enzymes
Poor eating habits, dietary choices and “eating on the run” will cause an alteration in the production and balance of digestive enzymes. When you eat a meal, your body releases about 22 types of digestive enzymes from the salivary gland, stomach and small intestine.
As we get older, our bodies start to produce lower levels of digestive enzymes. One of the primary culprits that will cause digestive enzyme dysfunction is one’s overall lifestyle. As we age, we commonly gain weight and develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. This is not a “normal” process but one that is very common based on the poor dietary, exercise and lifestyle choices that we make over time.
The following three action items can help you promote healthy digestion and reverse disease.
1. Eat plenty of fiber every day
A high-fiber diet is one of the best ways to promote healthy digestion but it can also help prevent diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.
An informed consumer is one that looks and understands what they are eating. A food label will provide the amount of fiber in your selection. Women need about 25 grams per day and men should get 38-40 grams.
Where do you find fiber?
Top sources of fiber include beans (all kinds), peas, lima beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, artichokes, whole wheat flour, barley, bulgur, cornmeal, bran, raspberries, blackberries, and prunes.
Good sources of fiber include: lettuce, dark leafy greens, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, corn, snap beans, asparagus, cabbage, nuts, raisins, pears, strawberries, oranges, bananas, blueberries, mangoes, and apples.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
The vast majority of individuals are dehydrated. Hydration is an important factor in digestion as it lubricates food in the digestive tract, help dissolve minerals, vitamins and nutrients for easier absorption, and will keep the stool moist to prevent constipation.
3. Take Your Time and Enjoy
Chewing is one of the most important parts of digestion, yet it is probably the most forgotten. Chewing not only helps break down food, it also signals the salivary glands, stomach and the small intestine to start releasing digestive enzymes.
The choices that you make today impact your health tomorrow. Commit be an informed consumer and select your food choices based on nutritional value versus convenience.
Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.
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