Your immune system is, for all intents and purposes, ‘housed’ within your gut, so it’s vital that you digest, utilise and assimilate the food you consume to the very best of your ability. It’s not just about what you eat – good digestion covers other factors too, some of which might surprise you.
The Autonomic Nervous System: We have a central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), as well as an autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is the master regulator of metabolism and is responsible for all involuntary functions of the body (such as breathing, heart rate, digestion etc.).
It has two branches – the Sympathetic (concerned with fight and flight, energy utilisation) and the Parasympathetic (concerned with rest and recovery, or energy conservation).
These branches work in opposition to one another, but together ensure that the body stays in balance. For example, Sympathetic stimulation speeds up heart rate, while Parasympathetic stimulation slows it down.
In terms of digestion, Para stimulation switches the digestive system on and Sym stimulation switches it off.
Now, since the Para system is concerned with energy conservation and is responsible for digestion, you would need to be in a calm, unstressed state in order to ensure optimal utilization of the fuel you’re putting in.
If, though, you’re rushed, stressed, or occupied with other thoughts, you are likely stimulating the Sym system, which switches off digestion!
You can see why it’s so important that you create a relaxed eating environment and that you sit for a while after meals to