Last week, we covered the importance of chewing your food long enough to allow it to mix thoroughly with the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, amylase, before it enters your stomach. Hopefully, you’ve been practicing this first step in digestion.
After chewing, the predigested food enters your stomach, where it is mixed and ground into a liquid called chyme (Greek for “juice”). Hydrochloric acid (HCI) and pepsin help to accomplish this second step of digestion, as well as helping to digest proteins. HCl is strong enough to corrode metals, so it is beneficial for killing pathogens like parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Digestion may be inefficient at destroying these pathogens and breaking down proteins when there is insufficient hydrochloric acid and pepsin.
Acid Reflux is most likely caused by a lack of stomach acid, rather than too much. Taking antacids may offer temporary relief but do not get to the root of the problem. As we age, the stomach may produce less HCl. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, including protein and calcium.
Belching could be a sign of poor digestion. If the belching is accompanied by a rotten egg odor and/or a taste in the mouth, this may be a sign that proteins are not being properly digested.
Self-test: First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water to which 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda has been added. Don’t gulp the water. Time yourself for up to 5 minutes. The sooner you belch (within 1 to 2 minutes), the better the indication that you have a good amount of stomach acid. The longer it takes (3 to 5 minutes), the lower your stomach acid may be.
Chew your food well before swallowing.
Eat smaller meals (overeating is hard on the stomach and requires more digestive juices).
Don’t drink large amounts of liquids with meals. Drink a glass of water before a meal, and then just sip as needed during a meal. If you are staying well hydrated throughout the day, you shouldn’t be thirsty while eating.
Consider taking plant-based digestive enzymes with meals (1 or 2 as needed) to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
If you have low stomach acid, you may need digestive enzymes that contain HCl and Pepsin. Don’t take these if you have ulcers. Start with only 1 capsule when you eat a meal that contains protein. Next time, take 2, then 3, etc., until you feel a warm sensation in your stomach. Back up to the number you took before you felt the warm sensation. This will be your optimal amount. Don’t take these long-term. The goal is to strengthen your production of hydrochloric acid and pepsin through a healthy diet and lifestyle so you won’t be dependent on supplements. An exception might be for the elderly who are in a chronically weakened condition.
Take a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in 4 ounces of water before a meal, or mix it in a salad. This not only aids digestion, but it has also been proven to lower blood sugar by as much as 30% when taken a few minutes before a meal.
Enjoy a cup of organic peppermint leaf tea to help with indigestion.
Aloe vera juice is very soothing in cases of indigestion and Acid Reflux.
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Proactazyme Plus Plant-Based Enzymes, PDA Combination with HCl and Pepsin, Papaya Mint Chewables Digestive Aid, Aloe Vera Juice)
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.