Too Stressed to Digest?

Relaxation is the perfect state for optimal digestion of food, and assimilation of nutrients. This is a simple fact of biology. The more stress we feel, the less well we digest. If we want better digestion, then relaxation is a vital ingredient for our meals.

The reason is simple. Our brain interprets stress as danger, so when we feel stressed, our body prepares for fight or flight. Blood and energy race to our extremities so we can throw a punch, or run away. Time speeds up because seconds count – we literally feel time running out. When this happens, our brain and body believe death is imminent, so why waste a single drop of energy digesting our last meal? 

When we constantly feel stressed, digestion either does not happen, or happens improperly. If it happens improperly, we can eat the most nutritious foods available and NOT get any of the nutrients! Constant stress causes the body to create more insulin, and more cortisol which can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • inability to lose weight
  • inability to build muscle
  • decreased calorie burning
  • increased fat deposits at midsection
  • increased inflammation
  • healthy gut flora die off
  • reduced digestion
  • nutrient wasting
  • decreased energy
  • increased appetite
  • desensitivity to pleasure
  • decreased oxygen uptake
  • poor sleep
  • the list goes on…

If we are trying to release excess weight, or do any kind of healing work, then it’s easy to see that constant stress works against us. Since relaxation is the perfect state for optimal digestion of food, and assimilation of nutrients, it stands to reason that we want to eat in a state of relaxation. 

Longer mealtimes accompanied by relaxing music can be a great digestive aid, but even meals consumed in a short time will be better digested if we relax first. Before taking that first bite, the wise eater will take three to ten nice deep breaths to begin calming the nervous system. Eating slowly signals the body to relax even further, since we wouldn’t slow down to eat calmly if we were fighting, or fleeing for our life. If we’re eating with someone we love, giving and receiving a nice long hug is also a signal that we are safe, and can relax into our meal. 

When we lighten our mind and our mood before our meal, we deepen digestive power, maximize nutrients, and increase personal energy. 

I wish you optimized digestion, and energized thriving!

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