Our nutrition process transforms food into the body tissue in order to provide energy for the full range of physical and mental activities that make up human life. Nutrition is the utilization of food by all living things to sustain life. Metabolism is the biochemical processes to extract the nutrients from the food.
Improper digestion could be the root of all diseases. Water plays a major role in our digestion and is represented in every stage of digestion. Our digestive track is very important to our bodies mental and physical health and wellness. The purpose of digestion is to breakdown food through a mechanical and chemical action into a substance that can be used by the body. The chemistry equivalent definition is to treat a substance by means of heat enzymes and solvent to promote decomposition or extract essential components. This is such an important process that we sometimes neglect the importance of how critical this phase is for our health. If at any point the chemical action that goes into the process of digestion is interrupted, it can offset the enzymes that trigger the mechanical processes (peristalsis) which moves food through the digestive track. Movement of nutrients and waste is absolutely necessary for a healthy life. Enzymes can only work in favorable conditions, at lower body conditions the enzymes still work but much slower making them less affective. Enzymes depending on there location need a pH 7.5 environment for them to work best, whereas the stomach operates at pH 2. If the environment of the organ that secreates the enzyme is too acidic or alkaline then the enzyme changes shape; which alters the shape of the active site so that substrates cannot bind to it making the enzyme denatured.
The digestive system can be divided into two groups. Alimentary which is the portion that is exposed to the external environment (mouth to anus) and the accessory digestive organs which aids the GI tract in the digestion process through the secreation of enzymes.
Now let’s begin with the start of the chemical process that first takes place in the mouth. This is the first stage/process of digestion. The saliva is the initiation of the chemical process because it begins the breakdown of carbohydrates in the mouth and prepares the esophagus and stomach to receive the food content.
The secreation of saliva is introduced into the oral cavity by the three salivary glands. The sublingual, submandibular and parotid gland which produce a combination of different mixtures of fluids for the digestive process to take place. Saliva produces 1-1.5 liters of fluid daily and contains 95.5% water with the remaining 4.5% being a mixture of ions, glycoproteins, enzymes, growth factors and waste products. The chief component in saliva that initiates the breakdown of carbohydrates is called amylase. In order to get all the nutrients out of food we must produce enzymes to catalyze the hydrolysis of starch into smaller carbohydrates. Food as a whole is too large to be consumed by our cells and because our cells do not have teeth it is consumed by a process called endocytosis. Saliva must range between a pH 6.35 – 6.85 which is slightly acidic to be effective in the early stages of digestion and to also maintain a clean environment for the mouth killing off any harmful bacteria.
We should drink 30 minutes before and after we eat, to allow the enzymes in the saliva to initiate the natural breakdown process. When we drink while we are eating it can disrupt the natural pH environment of saliva making it not as effective in the natural chemical process of food digestion. If you find yourself thirsty while eating try fruit instead of fruit juice. When the first process is interrupted it can begin a chain reaction of events that could affect the breakdown in the gut.
Once the food leaves the mouth it enters into the next phase of digestion. It takes food between 4-8 seconds from the esophagus to enter the stomach. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid a pH 1.5 – 3.5 and takes 6-8 hours for its digestion process. At this point the acid is breaking apart the structure of food releasing nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. The better you chew your food the easier and shorter this process because the stomach must breakdown the food contents into chyme. Chyme is a mixture of digested food, enzymes and hydrochloric acid. This action is important as to how food is consumed within the next phase of digestion through the intestines. Weak stomach acid produced by denatured enzymes does not breakdown food effectively and can leave harmful bacteria in our gut. This can possibly be passed along into our intestines where it can be absorbed in our bloodstream.
Drinking water before food consumption prepares a hormone called motilin to be released which extends the stomach wall causing rhythmic contractions in the digestive process helping food to pass through. Water also prepares the rest of the body for the movement of food through the bloodstream from the extracellular fluid compartment(ECF). Without water the blood will become concentrated from food volume making it harder to move freely through the system. Example: try making a smoothie with very little to no fluid and see the consistency.
Before the stomach can empty its acidic contents into the small intestines it must first be neutralize. The pancreas secretes a sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the chyme to a pH 7.1 – 8.0 before it can be released into the small intestines. This process is very critical because without this phase the contents of the stomach would burn the intestinal walls. Once alkalinized the chyme travels through to the jejunum which is a part of the small intestines and majority of the nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported into the bloodstream. By the time the chyme finishes traveling through the 21 feet of intestines most of the minerals and nutrients should have been absorbed from the food. Whatever is considered to be waste will enter the large intestines where the remaining water will be squeezed out and recycled by the body as a conservation of water system before passing out the rectum door.
If too much water leaves through waste i.e. diarrhea it is important to hydrate as soon as possible because many of your nutrients and water has left the building. If you are constipated then it is a sign of dehydration because the excess water squeezed out in this process helps the excrements to pass along smoothly through your smooth intestines and is recycled by the body as water conservation.
Chronic diseases and other forms of sickness begins as a dehydration problem then chased with a nutrition problem. The nutrients can not flow effectively without the contents of water. No other substitute will do. Pain is a signal to let the conscious mind know that there is something wrong internally with the system. For example like the smoke or carbon monoxide detector sounding off in your home. When you notice smoke you must look to extinguish the fire before it spreads not turn of the smoke detector. The problem is not the detector it’s the fire, nuetrilize the fire will netrilize the pain signal.
Acidic waste and toxicity builds up through the improper flow of water and organs not receiving the efficient amount of nutrients/voltage/energy to do its job. This triggers a neuron response in the brain that there is a problem that needs to be resolved.