Monday, August 17, 2009

Relaxation and The Digestive System

I have just finished another class for school. In this class we discussed dietary direction of foods (which I am not going to discuss right now) and a lot about digestion.

Many things we know already however some we don't really think about on a regular basis. Almost every diet book I have ever read talks about chewing your food, eating more slowly and they also say to stop eating before we are completely stuffed. Why?

The digestive process is controlled by the autonomic nervous system specifically the parasympathetic nervous system. In order for this system to work we need to be relaxed and slow down. Response to stress, anxiety or similar feelings shut off this system and activate the autonomic nervous system which is the system that protects us (example fight or flight) in high anxiety, it also turns off our parasympathetic nervous system thus shutting down our ability to digest our food and absorb our needed nutrients! There is more to it, but this is a basic synopsis of it.

Anyhow, thinking more about being relaxed before eating. I started to be more aware of my patterns while preparing and eating food. Generally I am in the kitchen preparing food, rushing around trying to get everything ready so we can get to where ever we have to go that night, and hollering to get kids to come inside, help set the table you know the drill.

So in the last few weeks I have been more aware of this, being more relaxed while preparing food and enjoying the whole preparation process, the textures of the food not only while eating but while preparing it too. Also enjoying the smells, as this is where digestion starts, when the smells get you salivating it releases enzymes that will begin the digestive process as soon as you begin to eat. I have started to just sit down and just take a few deep breaths before eating to help myself relax more.

I have noticed a difference in how I feel during and after eating, I am enjoying my food more and feeling better after eating on a regular basis.

How about you, how do you feel when you prepare foods and eat?

1 comment:

Jenny said...

We almost always have a sit-down meal. But cooking stresses me out so I do better with clean up duty. Glad you were able to get a class done over the summer. Looking forward to the kids going back to school so we can get together!