by Oasis Wellness Partners on May 5, 2019
It’s National Nutrition Month, and we have a blog post by our Naturopath, Dr. Peter Knight!
Did you know that worry and anxiety generate a stress response that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients? In order to fully digest your food, getting the body into the right state is of crucial importance. Dr. Peter Knight, Oasis’s Naturopathic doctor, explains why:
When the stress response is activated (sympathetic) digestion shuts down, whereas when the relaxation response is activated (parasympathetic) digestion is promoted. If you have had a hard day, doing some conscious breathing dissipates the stress response and promotes digestion.”
Often, being aware is the first step. For optimum nutritional metabolism, when you eat, eat. The cephalic phase digestive response is stimulated by our thoughts and senses before you even take a bite, so the less aware you are of a meal as you eat, the more the brain will signal you to consume excess food, and the less aware you are of the food you are eating the more likely you are to eat food that is not very good. Becuase there is a delay in how long it takes for your gut to signal your brain that you are full, so eating slowly is important to let your body know when the body has had enough.
Another important part of digestion is the awareness of pleasure. A pleasurable experience of a meal enhances nutrient absorption, while a non-pleasurable experience can decrease nutrient absorption. Why is this? Because pleasure catalyzes the relaxation response, promoting parasympathetic dominance and enhancing digestion. This means that eating food that is “good for you” but that you don’t like may be doing yourself a disservice.
Thirdly, how we think about food can impact how we digest it. Therefore, negative thoughts about food directly inhibit digestion, while positive thoughts about food enhance digestion via these same pathways.
So, what you can do to promote optimum digestion and nutrient absorption?
To learn even more, call Dr. Peter Knight at the Oasis office (207) 883-5549,
or you can reach him in Portland
222 St. John Street, Suite 236, Portland ME 04105