Improve Your Digestion to Boost Your Metabolism

Are you suffering from heartburn or headaches? Just can’t get out of bed in the morning? Do you look as though you are never rested no matter how much sleep you get, or feel as bloated as the Pillsbury Doughboy because of relentless water retention? All of these symptoms can be caused by the foods you are eating. Many of us tend to consume the same foods day after day with little variety. This may lead to our bodies becoming “sensitized” to the foods (food sensitivities are also sometimes called food allergies, although they may not be true allergies like those that may induce an anaphylactic reaction). This may result in a myriad of symptoms that are surprisingly not always digestive in nature. The trouble is we tend to go on, gradually feeling worse and worse, chronically fatigued or under-functioning. Usually it is difficult to realize how badly you are feeling until the offending foods are removed and you begin to notice improvements in subtle ways such as improvements in energy levels, moods, concentration and focus, joint pain, headaches or sinus congestion. This is why removal of the most commonly allergenic food groups is the essential first step in every one of my patient’s personalized wellness plan. Through this process of removing certain foods from your diet will you realize that your digestive tract isn’t just about the process of digestion. There are less commonly recognized processes linked to your gastrointestinal tract and, ultimately, your foundation of health. These include: Immunity. Approximately 60% of your immune system is clustered around your digestive tract. This makes sense because if you eat something rotten, your immune system is close by to protect you. However, because of the close association […]

Digestion and Metabolism

The rate of one’s metabolism is measured in terms of calories (energy) expended over a specified period of time—usually a day—to conduct all of the body’s necessary functions while at rest. Your metabolic rate is similarly governed by a host of factors. Age, sex, height, weight, body composition (amount of fat mass vs. muscle mass), presence of fever, and levels of various hormone levels—including thyroid and stress hormones—are all factors in determining the resting metabolic rate. Vigorous exercise can increase the resting metabolic rate for a window of time even after the physical activity has ceased. Starvation and malnutrition can dampen the metabolic rate. To date, very few dietary components have been shown to measurably speed up metabolism; among those that have been cited—like caffeine, green tea, and capsaicin—the effect has been miniscule and short-lived. Fiber, a dietary component that speeds up transit time specifically in the colon, is often credited with speeding up the metabolism; in fact, it does no such thing. As described above, fiber only speeds up colonic transit time—it does not influence the rate at which our body’s cells utilize food energy. Similarly, taking laxatives to help you go to the bathroom does not speed up the metabolism such that you’d burn more calories than normal. Why so much confusion between these two distinct bodily processes? There are at least two reasons: First is the misunderstood phenomenon of the post-meal poop. In response to the stimulus of your stomach stretching during a meal, an involuntary wave of motion (called peristalsis) happens in the colon to propel food waste forward, essentially to make room for whatever’s about to come down the pipeline. This normal phenomenon is called the “gastro-colic reflex,” and it can be particularly strong […]