An essential process for a properly functioning digestive system is chewing our food. The more we chew our food, the easier it is for our body to absorb all the nutrients we ingest. When we have a smoothie, we aren’t chewing the contents of this healthy drink which impairs our digestion. Maybe you start to feel bloated or gassy, or you even become more hungry after finishing the entire smoothie. Thankfully there are some ways you can combat this digestive distress. But first, let’s do a little review of how digestion works.
If there’s anything I want you to remember about digestion, it’s this- “Digestion is a North to South Process.” Beginning in the brain where all parts of necessary for optimal health. The second most important part of digestion is, functioning in a parasympathetic tone. We should always try our hardest to relax and minimize distractions when eating. “When stress is on, digestion is off.” Take a deep breath or 2 before you start eating. Notice if you feel different after your meal.
Since you understand these ideas now, we can go a bit deeper. Once food enters our mouth and we begin chewing, saliva is produced to help breakdown nutrients, especially carbs and fats. Once the food enters the stomach, the food gets disinfected, and protein breaks down. Nutrients then absorb into the small intestine. Next, the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder get to work. The liver produces bile which turns fats into energy. The pancreas breaks down sugars, fats, starches and produces hormones to help regulate blood sugar, stimulate stomach acid, and tells your stomach when it should empty. The gallbladder receives and stores the bile from the liver. From here, we move back into the small intestine to release secretin into the bloodstream, decrease the production of stomach acid, the gallbladder empties the bile, and begin to tell the brain to feel full. Lastly, the large intestine consumes the “leftovers” from the previous steps in the digestive process and removes what could not be absorbed. Now, I know that was a lot. But, our digestion system is complicated for a reason! Functioning at its absolute best, it supports our immunity, energy levels, etc.
So, to best digest your smoothie, here are some hacks to ensure you don’t experience any distress. Let’s get to it! Finally!
- Chew your smoothie. Even though it’s a liquid, make the chewing motion produces saliva and helps the breakdown of nutrients.
- Under – blend the contents of your smoothie to stimulate digestion.
- Add toppings that you can chew before and while you drink.
- Have a tincture of digestive bitters to produce enough stomach acid to digest the smoothie properly.
We are what we absorb! Chew that smoothie!