Gastroesophageal Refux Disease (GERD), and other indigestion problems have snuck into our sense of normal, and hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) has earned a bad reputation.
According to antacid marketing, your own stomach acid is to blame for your discomfort. This notion couldn't be farther from the truth! Stomach acid is a vital part of maintaining good health. By squelching it, you are actually prolonging the underlying issue and making yourself susceptible to larger health concerns.
If stomach acid is not to blame, what is the underlying issue? Hear this:
stagnant, rotten food is the culprit!
The majority of our population is regularly consuming excessive refined carbohydrates, and poorly sourced fats and proteins. Our body produces stomach acid at 0.8 on the PH scale (almost completely acid). Our stomach is designed to withstand an acid environment of approximately 1.5-3.0.
The goal of the stomach is to manually and chemically break down food before it enters the small intestine. This is where things can get complicated.
- Digestion is a delicate balancing act where your body uses many levels of hormonal, and intracellular communication.
- When you chew your food properly, a hormone in your saliva communicates to your stomach that food is on the way and to prepare accordingly, with stomach acid.
- When food (now called chyme) is churned in the stomach juices, the PH changes.
- Thus, communicating to the small intestine to secrete mucous containing hormones for further breakdown.
- This is where fats, proteins and carbohydrates start going different directions.
Imagine now, that you're rushing calories down the hatch between meetings, or on the way to the gym. You have now halted digestion at the beginning stage. By rushing, you're not giving your body a chance to recognize that stomach acid is necessary. On top of that, imagine that the meal contains simple carbohydrates. This would raise the stomach PH to a neutral level before your body has communicated with the small intestine. What happens now?
Your food stays put, eventually putrefying, causing gasses to travel up the esophagus with a burning sensation. This is when many people reach for antacids. Antacids are neutralizers. They probably help the uncomfortable feeling in the moment, but they are not cultivating the necessary stomach acid to move things along.
If food is not successfully making it past the stomach and into the intestines, the breakdown into nutrients doesn't occur. We are living in a wealthy, excessive, and malnourished society.
Let's choose nutrient dense food. Let's be in the moment while we eat. Let's make our poops proud.