How the Stomach Works — Some additional information to help you solve the puzzle of your stomach digestion issue
The stomach is small, shrunken, and empty in its relaxed state. When we eat something, it enters the stomach (from the esophagus) and it stretches to accommodate the amount of food. It’s located just below the sternum (breast bone) and this part of the abdomen will expand, and as a result, our pants feel tighter. The food stays here for 45-60 minutes while it churns the food into smaller pieces and continues the digestion of carbohydrates (starches, grains, and sugars) with the enzyme called amylase that was produced in the mouth.
In the mean time, it has communicated to the pancreas that it needs enzymes to start the digestion of proteins. This is a procedure of the pancreas making and sending to the stomach what it needs to create HCL (stomach acid) which is then used by the stomach to create enzymes which break down proteins into usable form (this is the process interrupted by medications). This process takes about 45 minutes, so the stomach has all that time to break down the food into smaller pieces and to continue digestion of carbohydrates with the enzymes that came with it from the food itself and from the glands in the mouth. Once the HCL is made, the contents become very acidic, carbohydrate breakdown no longer works, and the protein breakdown begins.
What does all this mean? If you graze throughout the day (continuous snacking and drinking), it causes the stomach to be working all the time and the acid to be present in the stomach all the time. This inhibits the digestion of carbs as well as exhausts the pancreas (which can result in reduced enzyme production for other vital functions of the body). For this reason, give your stomach and pancreas enough rest…allow at least three hours between eating or drinking (anything except water). And don’t snack while you’re making your meal either because that starts the 45 minute countdown. Coffee, teas, fruit juices and such are all treated as food—only water passes through to the intestines without starting the process.
Chew your food thoroughly so more amylase is produced in the mouth and the stomach has less “churning” to do to make the food into smaller pieces.
Another consideration is to drink room temperature water with your meals, not ice water. Enzymes need a certain temperature range in order to work. Therefore, very cold or very hot foods change the temperature of the stomach enough that it stops the digestion function of enzymes. This causes undigested foods to be passed on to the intestines, which can cause many toxic conditions.
Our digestion system is designed to eat foods that contain their own enzymes and to make what is missing. Our current SAD, standard American diet, contains very few enzymes, if any. Heating and radiating food kills them, as well as many pesticides, herbicides, and processing methods inhibit or destroy their ability to function. Even most of our organic, raw foods have been radiated. The only solution to this is to take enzyme supplements to replace those that are no longer there naturally. If you are choosing a supplement, make sure they contain all three major categories of food breakdown, amylase (carbohydrates), protease (proteins), lipase (fats) as well as cellulase (assists with raw vegetables).
You do not need to be a fanatic about any of these suggestions, but, if you have digestion issues, try them out to see if they help.