Your urine holds many clues about your health, which is why physicians in ancient times studied its color, smell and taste as a way to diagnose disease.
What exactly is your urine? It’s a byproduct of blood filtration from your kidneys. A pigment called urochrome, which results from the breakdown of hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells, is what makes it yellow.
At the most basic level, the color of your urine can tell you two things:
1. If you have an infection
2. If you’re dehydrated
Ideally, your urine should be light yellow, so for the former, cloudy urine is often a sign of an infection (or kidney stones), while dark yellow urine is a sign that you need to drink more water.
What else can the color of your urine tell you?
Ultimately, paying attention to the simple clues your body gives you -- and that includes the things your body excretes -- is something everyone should do.
New research confirms that vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) -- and therefore exposure to sunlight -- is essential for maximizing your bone health, and for preventing and treating a variety of bone diseases.
Vitamin D3 enhances your intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus. The major source of vitamin D3 is exposure of your skin to sunlight, since very few foods naturally contain vitamin D3 or are fortified with vitamin D3 (most foods are fortified with the less effective vitamin D2).
But vitamin D deficiency is pandemic, and can cause osteopenia, osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Unlike osteoporosis, osteomalacia causes aching bone pain, and is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome or even depression. Vitamin D deficiency also causes muscle weakness, which can increase your risk of falls and fractures.
Adequate vitamin D levels can be sustained by getting sensible sun exposure or ingesting at least 800-1000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
Live Light (perfect!) xo-C.
To conclude the series on digestion, here is the link to see an illustrated animation of digestion in process with detail explanations of what digestive function each organ performs.
And lastly, from World'sHealthiestFoods.com, here are some ways to support healthy digestion:
1. Chew thoroughly. Chewing is the physical process of breaking the food down into smaller fragments. Thorough chewing mixes food well with saliva, which moistens the food particles and provides a means for enzymes, like amylase and lipase, to get to the pieces of food and begin the process of starch and fat digestion. Chewing also signals the body to begin the digestion process, alerting the stomach to prepare to make stomach acid, and signaling the pancreas to prepare to secrete its contents into the lumen of the small intestinal tract.
When a meal is not well chewed, the food fragments are too big. Since the digestive enzymes can only work on the surface of the food fragments, inadequate chewing results in incomplete digestion. This means not only nutrients being left in the food and unabsorbed, but also extra food for bacteria in the colon. This extra bacterial food results in bacterial overgrowth, gas and symptoms of indigestion.
Eating should always begin with thorough chewing of food to allow for complete digestion to occur.
2. Ensure adequate amounts of digestive factors. After chewing, the food's next stop is the stomach, where an adequate amount of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) is the next necessity. Stomach acid is required for adequate breakdown of proteins. Without adequate stomach acid, not only is protein digestion ineffective, but also digestion of vitamin B12 is seriously affected. Vitamin B12 digestion and absorption requires that it be liberated from protein. In addition, intrinsic factor, the protein that is necessary for vitamin B12 absorption, is low when stomach acid is low.
Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) is common, especially in older people since as we age, we make less stomach acid. Research suggests that as many as half of the people over 60 years old have hypochlorhydria. A variety of factors can inhibit sufficient stomach acid production including the pathogenic bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, and frequent use of antacids. Hypochlorhydria is also associated with many diseases, such as asthma, celiac sprue, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes mellitus. Signs of hypochlorhydria include a sense of fullness after eating, bloating, excessive belching, indigestion, multiple food allergies, undigested food in the stool, and peeling and cracked fingernails.
In addition to hydrochloric acid, the production of pancreatic enzymes and bicarbonate is also compromised in some people. If necessary, these digestive factors can be replaced with appropriate supplementation. Digestive enzyme support can also be obtained from fresh pineapple or papaya, which contain the enzyme bromelain, and other fresh vegetables and herbs. Processed foods, like canned pineapple, contain little enzyme activity since digestive enzymes are proteins, which are destroyed by heating, such as in the sterilization process. So beginning a meal with fresh fruits or salad can provide support for healthy digestion.
3. Identify and eliminate food allergens. The intestinal brush border (the absorptive surface of the small intestine) can be negatively affected by food allergies, which cause inflammation along the intestinal tract wall. When a food allergic reaction occurs, the immune system perceives specific food molecules as hostile invaders, and forms antibodies, which latch on to these allergens to assist in their removal. As part of the immune system's defensive action against food allergens, inflammation can occur along the intestinal tract lining, interrupting the absorption process and causing damage to the lining. Gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases-such as diverticulosis or inflammatory bowel disease-and celiac sprue (intolerance of gluten found in wheat products) also result in damage to the intestinal wall. Most common food allergens include milk proteins, wheat, soy, some shellfish, and peanuts.
4. Support the gastrointestinal barrier. The gastrointestinal cell wall is the barrier between what you ingest and the inside of your body; therefore, the integrity of this barrier is vital to your health. Support for the mucus that covers the cells in the gastrointestinal tract is very important, especially in the stomach. The mucus layer is one way the stomach and upper small intestine protect themselves against the damaging effects of stomach acid. Alcohol, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDS (e.g. aspirin), and the pathogenic bacteria, Helicobacter pylori can reduce the mucous layer, leading to lesions in the stomach and small intestinal tract walls.
Choline provides nutritional support for a healthy mucous layer and is found in vegetables such as cauliflower and lettuce. Choline can be obtained from lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) as well, which is high in eggs and soybeans. Some foods also help combat or protect against the damage of Helicobacter pylori, and these include catechins found in green tea, some spices such as cinnamon, carotenoids found in vegetables, and vitamin C, found in citrus foods.
5. Provide a healing environment for the small intestine. Research studies have shown that the small intestinal tract barrier can become leaky under some conditions. That is, the cells loose their attachments to each other, resulting in a wall with holes between the cells instead of the cells forming a strong, connected and continuous surface. When this "leaky gut" happens, molecules can get inside the body that normally wouldn't be transported through the intestinal cell wall. Furthermore, studies have shown that this leaky gut can also cause problems in the normal transport of nutrients. This is probably because most nutrients are taken into the body through the cells in the intestinal wall by the selective process of active transport, and they may need to go through the cells and not around them to get to the right transport systems in your body. Therefore, with leaky gut, the things that shouldn't get in do, and those that should can't get where they need to be for adequate transport through the body. The result is the body doesn't get the nutrition it needs.
Anything that irritates the lining of the gastrointestinal tract can cause leaky gut, but a major contributor is inflammation (e.g., food allergies). Leaky gut occurs under stress (see below), and is found after radiation treatments for cancer, after some chemotherapy, with diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, and with bacterial infections, which can result in bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Eliminating foods to which you are intolerant or allergic can help provide a healing environment in the small intestine. Carotenoids, (a precursor to vitamin A), may be particularly important since vitamin A supports the maturation of epithelial cells, which are the type of cell that line the intestinal tract, and it is the mature epithelial cells that form the strongest barrier in the intestinal tract. Carotenoids are found at high levels in vegetables, especially the orange- and red-colored vegetables.
Glutathione, a small peptide found in the highest concentrations in fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats is also beneficial to the small intestine, since it can directly act as an antioxidant in the intestinal tract and help decrease damaging molecules that may be produced during inflammation. Vitamin C, from citrus fruits, and vitamin E, found in whole grain cereals and nut oils, are important antioxidants for the small intestine and work with glutathione to support intestinal healing.
The cells that line the intestinal tract need fuel to continue their process of nutrient uptake. The preferred fuel for these cells is the amino acid glutamine, which can be obtained from proteins. Some studies have shown that short-chain fatty acids may also support the small intestinal tract barrier because they can serve as an alternate fuel for the cells that make up the intestinal lining. The small intestinal tract cells also require energy to maintain integrity of the cell wall, and production of energy requires healthy levels of vitamin B5. Mushrooms, cauliflower, sunflower seeds, corn, broccoli, and yogurt are concentrated sources of vitamin B5. The intestinal tract cells also require a number of vitamins, so adequate overall nutrition is necessary.
6. Support the growth of probiotic bacteria. When a good balance of probiotic bacteria have colonized the colon, they crowd out pathogenic bacteria and other microorganisms that compromise your health, preventing them from growing. By fermenting the fiber your body couldn't directly digest, these healthy colonic bacteria also produce short-chain fatty acids that the cells of the colon use for their own nourishment. In addition, these short-chain fatty acids are absorbed into the body and have beneficial effects on the small intestine and the system in general. For example, they may help maintain healthy blood sugar and lipid (fat) levels, and may also increase the amount of calcium taken in by the small intestine, and promote the movement of food through the intestinal tract. Foods that will supply probiotic bacteria include some yogurts, kefir, and other foods that have been fermented with Lactobacillus or contain Bifidobacteria, the beneficial types of bacteria. Foods that will nourish probiotic bacteria include foods that contain soy fiber, inulin (from chicory or Jerusalem artichoke), and rice fiber.
7. Provide for healthy intestinal transit. The movement of the food, or chyme, through the digestive tract is very important. Healthy intestinal transit is supported, in part, by the short-chain fatty acids produced by fermentation of prebiotic fibers in the colon. Fiber, in general, supports overall transit of the chyme and healthy elimination. Some fibers, like those found in rye, wheat and flax, also can bind to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, and carry them through the digestive tract for direct elimination, decreasing the amount that is absorbed into your body.
8. Learn how to deal with stress effectively. Research has shown that the intestine responds negatively to stress, during which the intestinal lining becomes leaky, absorption is less effective, and your body is unable to selectively take up the nutrients it needs. The reasons for these effects of stress on the intestinal tract are not entirely known, however many neurotransmitters (brain-produced signaling molecules) are found surrounding the intestinal tract. Furthermore, neurotransmitter receptors, which can bind and respond to these signaling molecules, are located along the intestinal tract. Therefore, it is known that brain signaling molecules can affect the intestinal tract. Foods with a calming effect include herb teas, like chamomile. Alcohol, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates, like table sugar, should be avoided. Eating meals at regular times and in a relaxed environment can also help decrease stress.
Live Light, xo-C.
Vitamins and Minerals are Absorbed Selectively
Vitamins and minerals are quite varied in structure and amount in the foods you eat. They can be found in food in a free form, chemically bound to a larger molecule, or tightly encased inside a food aggregate. In most cases, they are liberated during eating by the mechanical process of grinding. They may also be liberated during the breakdown of the large molecules like proteins and starch, in which they may be encased.
Since your body requires specific amounts of these key nutrients, most vitamins and some minerals have active transports in place for absorption and are taken into the body in very specific ways. These active transports act as shuttles, picking up the vitamin or mineral and taking it through the intestinal cell wall into the body, where it may be directly released or transferred to another transport molecule. Since vitamins and minerals are small and are usually found in much lower levels than amino acids, carbohydrate, and fats, these active transports must select and pull these important molecules out of the food and take them into your body. Active transports require energy to function properly.
Calcium and iron are examples of minerals that are taken into the body by active transport. Most of the water-soluble vitamins have an active transport in place as well, and these active transports are primarily found in the middle section of the small intestine, the jejunum. Some minerals, like iron and calcium, are absorbed in the first part of the small intestine as well as the jejunum. The fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, K, and E), as discussed above, are absorbed with fat miscelles, and therefore require fat to be present for their full absorption.
Magnesium is a mineral of tremendous importance for bone health, energy production, and overall healthy functioning throughout the body since it activates more than 300 cellular enzymes. Like calcium, magnesium must be constantly supplied to maintain optimal function. Magnesium doesn't have an active transport, but depends entirely on dietary intake and a healthy intestinal lining for its absorption, and can be absorbed throughout the entire small intestine and even in the colon. Low intakes of magnesium, or loss of ability of the intestinal tract to absorb magnesium due to intestinal inflammation or disease, can result in a variety of problems such as muscle twitching or tremors, weakness, irritability and restlessness, depression, and weak bones. Magnesium is found at highest levels in whole foods such as grains but is often removed during processing. Whole grain bread and cereals will have a much higher amount of magnesium than white bread, which is made from refined flour.
Vitamin B12 is also absorbed differently from the other vitamins and minerals. First, it is most commonly found attached to proteins, and therefore requires protein breakdown to be liberated. Then, it requires a protein made in the stomach, called intrinsic factor, for its absorption, but is not absorbed until the vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex reaches the final part of the small intestine, the ileum. Optimal digestion of vitamin B12 is dependent on your ability to make a healthy amount of stomach acid, since protein breakdown requires stomach acid and research has shown that intrinsic factor is also not secreted in adequate level when stomach acid is low.
OneHealthyGirl.com recommends supplementing with True Source daily whole food multi-nutrients! Live Light, xo-C.
Carbohydrates Support Your Need for Energy and Provide Fiber for Intestinal Health
Carbohydrates are a varied combination of both very small and very large molecules and comprise about 40 to 45 percent of the energy supply for your body. You get most of your carbohydrates from cereals, fruits and vegetables. Small carbohydrates, like table sugar (sucrose) or glucose, provide a sweet taste to foods. Larger carbohydrates, like starches or fiber, provide substance to foods. Examples of these larger carbohydrates include gums, gels, or pastes, like you get with bread or cookie dough. When cooked, these foods have a structure, like a slice of bread or a cracker, but are mainly composed of different types of carbohydrates.
What happens when I eat a bowl of cereal?
Only the individual small sugar molecules, called monosaccharides (mono=one; saccharide=sugar), can be absorbed directly. Glucose and fructose are examples of monosaccharides. Since carbohydrates exist in food not only as monosaccharides, but also as many combinations of these monosaccharides linked together, your body has to cut these carbohydrates down to their individual monosaccharide units.
Many of the simple sugars that give food its sweet taste are found as two small sugars bonded together. For example, when you eat a bowl of cereal, your body must digest the sucrose (table sugar), which is made of two small sugars, to its monosaccharides. To do this, it uses an enzyme called sucrase, which cuts sucrose to produce glucose and fructose, a process called hydrolysis. The milk on the cereal gets its sweet taste from the carbohydrate called lactose, which is cut (hydrolyzed) into monosaccharides by lactase, to produce galactose and glucose. The majority of carbohydrate hydrolysis occurs in the small intestine; that is, these carbohydrates are mainly transported to the small intestine before they are cut into the monosaccharides glucose, galactose, and fructose. After hydrolysis, these individual monosaccharides are then absorbed directly in the duodenum and jejunum.
Cereals are also high in fiber and provide your body with this important nutrient. Fiber is made of very large carbohydrates containing types of chemical structures that aren't broken down, or digested, by your body. Fiber travels through your gastrointestinal tract intact and ends up in the large intestine, where it provides nutrition for the intestinal bacteria that ferment it. Fiber is called soluble or insoluble, depending on its ability to take up water and to be fermented in the large intestine.
What is starch?
Plants store their energy by stringing together many glucose molecules into a long complex of several hundred to several thousand glucose molecules. Plant foods that have stored energy, for example seeds that must provide energy for the young plant when it starts growing, are high in starch. When the young plant starts growing, the starch is broken down to form glucose for energy. Starch is found in food as amylose starch, which is a straight chain starch, and amylopectin starch, which is a branched chain starch.
When you eat foods with starch, like corn or potatoes, your body digests this very large carbohydrate in much the same way as it digests protein. Your body uses a number of enzymes to cut down a large, linear starch chain into the small individual units that are linked together, the glucose molecules, which can then be absorbed in the intestines. The enzymes that breakdown starches are called amylases. Amylases are very important because starch is prevalent in our diet and a main source from which we derive glucose, the primary sugar molecule the body uses for energy. Amylases actually cut starch down to two-sugar units, maltose and isomaltose, and then other enzymes, called maltase and isomaltase, hydrolyze these two sugars into the individual monosaccharide glucose.
Amylases are produced in the mouth and, therefore, when you eat starch it is immediately acted upon, beginning the process of starch breakdown. This is one of the reasons why thoroughly chewing rather than gulping your food is so important. Since the smaller sugars that come from amylase action on starch are sweeter tasting, if you hold a cracker in your mouth and swish saliva around it, you may notice the appearance of a sweeter taste.
One special kind of starch is found in some foods, such as raw, green bananas. It is called resistant starch, and gets its name because it is resistant to digestion. Therefore, resistant starch is more like a fiber, traveling through the intestinal tract undigested until it reaches the large intestine where, like fiber, it may be fermented by the bacteria in the colon.
OneHealthyGirl.com recommends Balance Complete for healthful carbohydrate energy, ample fiber and supplemental enzymes! Live Light, xo-C.
Fats Insulate Your Body's Cells From the Outside World
Fats, also called lipids, are required for many important functions in your body. Fats are a main component of the membranes of all the cells in your body: without fats, your cells would have no covering or boundary. By providing the membrane around all your cells, fats are vital for insulating your body from the outside world. Fats also can be used to provide energy and are involved in supporting the immune system, brain health, and cardiovascular function.
There are many different types of fats, but only a few are essential, which means your body cannot create them internally, so you must take them in through your diet. These essential fats include an omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid), and an omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid), and are found in the highest amount in nuts, seeds, and fish. Meat contains high levels of fats that are not considered essential, called the saturated fatty acids, and it also contains cholesterol, which is also not essential and is digested in the same way as fats. High amounts of the non-essential saturated fats, and too little of the essential fats can result in problems with the immune system, hardened arteries, and scaling skin, among other symptoms.
As well as being a necessary part of your diet, during digestion, fats also act as carriers of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and the carotenoids, thus enabling their absorption. (Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are a group of highly colored fat-soluble compounds in plants with a wide range of health protective effects.) Without fats in your diet, you would also not be able to absorb these important vitamins, and would show deficiency symptoms such as problems with blood clotting (vitamin K), weak bones (vitamin D), or vision disturbances (vitamin A).
What happens when I eat a food containing fat?
Fats are present in food primarily as three fat molecules attached to a backbone molecule called glycerol, but your body can't absorb this molecule directly. Like protein, your body must first break down this larger molecule into smaller ones. For example, after you eat a piece of salmon, which contains essential fats, your body must first remove, or strip-off the fat molecules from the glycerol backbone to which they are attached. This process is called hydrolysis, and the types of enzymes that hydrolyze fats from glycerol are called lipases. Lipases are secreted under the tongue, in the stomach, and from the pancreas; therefore, fat hydrolysis begins the minute fats enter your mouth and continues in your stomach, where the majority of fat hydrolysis occurs.
After hydrolysis, the absorption of fats is complicated by the fact that, like any oil, they are insoluble in water, and therefore the body has a system in place to provide a solubilized fat aggregate. The body uses bile acids, which act as detergents, to make fat globules, or aggregates. After aggregation with bile, the fat aggregates, also called miscelles are transported to the small intestine, where they can be taken up directly by the intestinal cells and absorbed into the body.
Absorption of the fat from the miscelles begins in the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, with the majority of absorption occurring in the mid-section of the intestine, the jejunum. The bile acids generally stay behind in the intestinal tract, acting more as a shuttle.
OneHealthyGirl.com highly recommends supplementing with Omega Blue.
Live Light, xo-C.
Food is Complex and Contains Many Types of Molecules
Food is a very complex mixture of different types of very large molecules-the proteins and some carbohydrates; mid-range sized molecules-such as fats; and a wide variety of smaller molecules including vitamins, minerals, small carbohydrates like sugars, and other phytonutrients, which are protective substances found in plants (phyto = plant). Most foods you eat are a mixture of all of these different molecules, and since you need a variety of types of nutrients, your body must be able to digest these varied types of molecules in food.
The size, as well as the type of molecule, makes a difference in how a food is digested, the nutrients that are derived from it, and where these nutrients are taken up by your body. Each type of molecule has its own challenge with respect to digestion.
Proteins Provide Amino Acid Building Blocks For Growth and Repair
Proteins are extremely important because they constitute the majority of the structural tissue in your body, such as bone and connective tissues that provide the shape and form to which your cells attach. Proteins are involved in just about every function in the body as well since enzymes are proteins, and enzymes are the molecules in the body that do much of the work, like building new tissue or removing damaged tissue. Proteins are also message carriers in your body, transporting hormones from one place to another, and transporting signals across your cell membranes to your DNA.
Your body is constantly making new proteins to replenish what's lost from tissue damage or to provide for growth. Enzymes are continually being produced anew to replace older, less functional enzymes. Therefore, to maintain optimal health, your body needs a continuous supply of the nutrients to support protein production.
Proteins are made up of smaller molecules called amino acids that are strung together by chemical bonds like beads on a chain. To become an active, functional protein, this string of amino acids folds in on itself forming a twisted and entwined, three-dimensional structure. An individual protein molecule can be as small as 200 to as large as 5,000 amino acids strung together.
How do I get the protein I need?
In order to make the protein your body needs, it must obtain the protein building blocks, the amino acids, from the proteins in food. Although vegetables and grains do provide some protein, you get most of your protein from nuts, legumes, eggs, fish, meats, and dairy products. When you eat these protein-containing foods, your body must take the large protein chains in them and cut them down to either individual amino acids or dipeptides (two amino acids, di=two, peptide=amino acid) before you can absorb them. Once absorbed, the amino acids are transported through your bloodstream to the tissues that need them, such as muscles. Then, your body uses these amino acids to reconstruct its own proteins in the forms you need to support your tissue's growth and repair.
Your body produces enzymes called proteases to help break down the proteins in food to the amino acids. Proteases cut proteins between specific amino acids to produce the smaller peptide chains. Before the proteases can act on the protein, the protein must first be untwisted, a process called denaturation, which results in a long single-chain protein. Proteins are denatured in the stomach, with the help of the stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), the mixing action of the stomach, and the protease pepsin.
After denaturation in the stomach, the long single-chain protein is transported to the proximal small intestine, the duodenum, which contains several types of proteases. These proteases act on the protein chain, cutting it further until only dipeptides and single amino acids are present. The amino acids and dipeptides are absorbed in the small intestine, primarily in the middle section, the jejunum.
How much protein do I need?
A healthy adult is estimated to need around 40 to 65 grams of protein per day. If this is not provided in the food you eat, your body will begin to break down muscle and other tissues to obtain the amino acids it needs. Inadequate intake and digestion of amino acids from protein can lead to stunting, poor muscle formation, thin and fragile hair, skin lesions, a poorly functioning immune system, and many other symptoms.
In plant and animal foods, the amino acids you need are mainly provided in the form of large protein molecules that require all aspects of protein digestion-denaturation in the stomach and protease action in the intestines-before absorption. Free amino acids, which require no processing by the body before absorption, may also be present but are generally not found in large amounts.
In processed foods, protein is sometimes provided as hydrolyzed protein, which means it has been chemically cut into smaller chains from two to 200 amino acids called peptides. These peptide fragments may be easier for your body to digest; that is, they may not need to be denatured in the stomach, but are still too large for direct absorption and must be digested in the intestine. Some specially produced foods for hospital or healthcare use are made of elemental amino acids; these products provide the amino acids themselves and require no digestion before absorption.
OneHealthyGirl.com recommends Balance Complete for 11.5 grams of protein per serving!
Live Light, xo-C.
I've read a very nice and thorough explanation of digestion and all it's important stages on World's HealthiestFoods.com and wish to share it in parts with you here. It may help explain why it is so incredibly important to become very particular about what foods to allow into your body. Remember, you truly are what you eat. Make it real! Live Light, xo-C.
The food you eat contains the nutrients that serve as building blocks, and provide energy and nourishment throughout your body. In food, nutrients are contained in large molecules that are chemically and physically bound together. Digestion is the process of breaking down these tightly bound molecules into individual nutrients that can be taken into your body and used to support its functions. Simply defined, digestion is cutting things down to a size in which they can be absorbed into your body.
Digestion occurs in the gastrointestinal tract-the 20 to 30 foot long tube extending from your mouth to your anus. Whatever you eat flows through this system, but until it is absorbed through the intestinal tract, the nutrients in food are physically outside of your body. This is because the gastrointestinal tract functions like an internal skin and provides a barrier between whatever you ingest from the outside (external) world and your internal bloodstream and cells. Part of the digestion process, then, is the selective transport of nutrients through the cell wall that lines your intestinal tract. Once transported across the intestinal barrier to the inside of your body, these nutrients can enter your bloodstream and circulate to all of your tissues to maintain organ function, support your need for energy, and provide for growth and repair of new cells and tissues.
While digestion can be simply defined, its mechanics are quite complex. This is because your food contains so many different sizes, shapes, and types of individual molecules, all tightly entwined, and because each of these types of molecules is chemically distinct. Digestion uses both mechanical processes, such as chewing and grinding, which help separate the different types of molecules, as well as chemical processes, in the form of enzymes that can cut the bonds within the molecules, to release small nutrients into your system. An analogy is two or more necklace chains of different types twisted, knotted, and interlocked together. Digestion would be the process of untwisting and separating the chains, usually requiring cutting them in a couple of places, and then pulling them apart and further cutting each of them into many smaller pieces, so they can become building blocks for other necklace chains.
Next time: Proteins!
Have you been looking for me over at onebusygirl.com? Yeah, me too! And I'm not there either! Whew! This has been an amazingly busy time for me and while I've not been able to post much here, I sure have been thinking about how healthy choices fit into a busy schedule. I've determined this much: if I have the choice to make between work and exercise, I'll choose exercise, and if I have the choice to make between exercise and sleep, I'll choose sleep. One more half hour of working (this is after hours, mind you) isn't going to be as productive for me as 30 minutes of exercise. And 30 minutes of exercise when I'm dog tired isn't going to benefit me as much as just going to bed and starting the restoration process. I've been doing a lot of walking in the dark - it seems like 8:30 pm is the time I get around to walking 30 minutes with the dog. But I've done it most days (er, nights) and that feels rewarding! And there's been a time or two that I was literally too sleepy to even walk around the block. The message here? Don't tell me you're too busy to make healthy choices for yourself. There is always time to do what you really want to be doing.
Next subject: poop! Yeah, get embarassed. Eww! She's talking about what? Well, as many of you know, when you're pregnant and then have a child, much of your conversation with other mothers is your bowel activity or that of your child's. And it just becomes a strange focus as you age. Fact of life. The reason is because much can be told about your state of health by the activity of your gastrointestinal output - otherwise known as your poop! Having been one to traditionally have a slow transit time, I have been so impressed by the combination of walking, adequate water, good food and the supplements. One shot of NingXia red juice and one Balance Complete shake has that same affect on me as a strong cup of coffee and a newspaper, if you know what I'm saying. Fiber, water and probiotics are a colon's best friends. The next time you eat some corn, test your transit time. Note the time of day of your corn intake and note the next time you see it (in the toilet). Ideally, it should be the next day. Ultimately, your bowels should evacuate the last meal upon the intake of the following meal. Breakfast comes out after lunch; lunch comes out after dinner, etc.
Here are some signs of poor colon (ie: large intestine) health:
If you can't get the garbage out, the house gets stinky and sick! Get this: studies are showing that allergies (seasonal and food) are being linked to poor GI health. Remember, the bulk of your immunity resides in the colon and when the musousal lining of your colon becomes inflammed, your body's reaction to irritants is weakened. Strenghten your colon health and watch for your pesky allergies to fade away.
I had my blood drawn yesterday to mark my one month changes, if any. I'll post the changes as soon as I receive the results. Until then, happy pooping, xo-C.