Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Improving digestion

Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition and auto-immune conditions generally have their origins in the digestive system. That means that anyone with an auto-immune disease or condition should do all that they can to ensure proper digestion of whatever they put into their body.

Your psoriasis shows on the outside of your body. Most people reason that the problem is on their skin so that is what they treat, with topical steroids and other creams and lotions that must be absorbed through the outer layers of skin to reach the layers where the excessive cell growth is taking place. These topical medications do help but they treat the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem. Also, many of the medications have long-term effects like thinning the skin and making it more easily damaged, if used for long periods. I prefer to use the topical solutions as a backup to improving what is happening inside my body to cause the symptoms seen and felt on my skin.

Digestion doesn't only happen in your stomach and intestines, it starts as soon as you take in something through your lips, into your mouth. I am sure that most of us remember being told by our parents to eat slowly and to chew our food properly. Our teachers at school told us the same thing. Most of us heard the message but didn't really listen to it, continuing our bad habits. Most adults don't chew their food properly, even when telling their children to do so.

Have you ever noticed that many people who really wolf down their meals are over-weight and those who eat more slowly are slim. There are two reasons for this.

1) Incompletely digested food makes more fat than properly digested food. It applies more load onto the digestive system, which cannot work as efficiently. Your digestive juices cannot break down large pieces of food as easily as it can smaller pieces that have also been well and truly beaten up by your teeth, in the same way that a studded mallet tenderizes steak and allows the marinades and sauces to get into the meat.

2) It takes your brain about 20 minutes to catch up with your stomach, to receive the message that you have had a meal. Cram in lots of food in 20 minutes and you will fill yourself up to capacity, placing strain on your stomach. Eat slowly for 20 minutes and your brain will tell you that you have had enough before the food puts pressure from below on your gullet. You will feel more comfortable for it and will be much less likely to need antacids to get rid of that bloated feeling and heartburn. If you suffer heartburn regularly take it as a sign that your eating habits are possibly not what they should be.

There is an excellent saying that I keep in mind to help maintain my digestive system in good order. It goes "Chew your liquids and drink your solids". What it means is:-

A) Don't just pour your liquids (soups, fruit juices etc) straight through your mouth and down your gullet. There are ingredients in those liquids that need the alkaline juices in your saliva to kick off conversion into the good stuff that your body needs. You should swill the liquids around your mouth to mix it with saliva before you swallow.

B) Chew your solids very thoroughly to break them into smaller pieces, break down the cell structure and to mix it with saliva. If you sometimes battle to swallow a piece of meat or other food then you have not chewed it anywhere near enough. It is too large and it is also too dry with insufficient saliva around it.

If your food is well mixed and softened before it reaches your stomach then it has a head-start to being properly converted into nutrients as it travels through your system. You will get more nutrition from your food and will be more healthy as well. Your psoriasis should show some improvement and you may lose some weight along the way.