While a bonfire is something that may be great fun to enjoy with family and friends, if you compare a bonfire with what happens inside your body when you have digestive problems in the abdominal region, it may not be pleasant. I recently read about this analogy where the author described the effectiveness of a bonfire burning strong – the same as our digestive process should do.
When our digestion system is functioning at that level, it is efficient at breaking down food to produce fuel for the body. However, when a bonfire is dwindling down it is burning at a much slower rate. When our digestive systems work at a similar slower pace, not all of our food gets digested. Some is left undigested and can cause the following symptoms: fire in gut, indigestion, leaky gut, food allergies, candida, and other challenges.
Food needs broken down small enough to get into our cells. That is where our bodies get the energy they need. In our bodies, the digestive ‘fire’ that we need to break down our food are what is called enzymes. Digestive enzymes are required to efficiently process the food that we eat.
You may have heard about people supplementing with enzymes because their body does not have enough of them. Being deficient in these enzymes can cause all kinds of digestive issues.
Let’s look at the process that happens from the time we eat food until it is digested the way that it should be. It all begins before food even hits the mouth. When we see food that looks appealing, and smell food with a wonderful aroma, there are sensations that actually stimulate saliva to get ready for the intake of this food.
Next, the food enters the mouth where we chew it up and where enzymes in our saliva start the digestive process. Once the food is swallowed we have very little control over what happens next. The eating and chewing of the food is where we have the power. Chewing well is best because when larger chunks of food are swallowed, we are making it harder for our bodies to completely digest it.
In our stomachs there are more enzymes and hydrochloric acid that help break down our foods. Stomach acid also is needed to kill bacteria that may have been present in the food we ate. As we age, our acid levels are reduced. This is also the time many people turn for help with digestive aids.
There is a lot happening in the stomach and we can think of it as the organ of fire – if it is functioning properly. It needs its acid to digest the food and yet many people struggle with a balance of this acid. All organs have a certain way that they function optimally, and all kinds of chaos can occur when they don’t – including a burning gut.
The small intestine is where food spends 2 to 6 hours in the chemical part of the digestion process, including more enzymes. It is a looping, twisty journey. If the intestines have not been affected by problems like constipation, alcohol, drugs, a daily diet with a lot of processed foods, or a lack of good bacteria, there will be a better chance of the body absorbing nutrients it needs.
There is a complex process that happens in the small intestine. Problems like Crohn’s disease, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other health issues arise when the small intestine is not able to perform its work efficiently.
At the end of the digestion process is the large intestine, also called the colon or bowel. By the time what’s left of the food we eat reaches this area, the nutrients should be gone from it and elimination is the main purpose. The process can take varying times and that is due to individual factors in terms of how healthy this area of the body is functioning, as well as the food type that was consumed.
Problems such as constipation and diarrhea occur once we are at this stage. Eating lots of fiber every day and drinking enough pure water are key to colons that work properly.
There are many digestive problems that people deal with on a daily basis, including an abdominal area that may feel like it is on fire. Some people live with these symptoms, uncomfortably, for years. Some are on medications to help control the process, and others seek natural alternatives like digestive enzymes in supplement form.
In addition to meds or natural nutrition, there are recommended lifestyle modifications. First, it can be very helpful to change the diet and there are quite a few resources available to explore options for that. Some people find benefits by drinking a little apple cider or lemon juice before they eat a meal. There are high quality protein sources available that help the body produce enzymes needed for digestion, and stomach acid also. Finally, raw foods consumed daily, in good amounts, are great for digestion.
We already mentioned that a high fiber daily diet and significant clean water every day are very beneficial to the entire digestion system. Most of us probably do not think about what happens to our food once we enjoy the taste, chew and swallow it. Our bodies will tell us more if our digestive function is not good. A burning gut is not a good feeling at any time.