Your digestion is a window.
It’s a window into how the rest of your body is functioning.
The balance of the rest of your body is highly influenced by your digestive function. 70% of your immune system is located in and around your gut– your digestive tract is the main barrier between the outside world and your blood stream. There are multiple organ systems that play an important role in your digestion including your liver, pancreas, gallbladder and your brain.
Imbalances in your digestion can indicate imbalances in the function of those organs, which can mean imbalances in hormones, which can mean imbalances in other organs…it’s a holistic system that’s all closely connected.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that an imbalance in your digestion can affect your whole body. Including your food choices and your relationship with food.
When your digestion is impaired, it can physically and emotionally affect your relationship with food.
5 Ways Digestion Impacts Relationship With Food
1. Gurgles and Gas
Bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation are all common signs that your digestion is out of whack. Any kind of digestive distress–bloating, gas etc– can be an indication that a food you’re eating isn’t working for you. It’s an indication that your body isn’t digesting properly and when your body isn’t digesting certain foods properly, it’s likely you’ll try to avoid those foods.
Often, the foods that your body has trouble digesting are the healthy foods– like fibrous vegetables– that you want to be eating when you’re working toward building a better relationship with food. Having trouble digesting these foods makes eating them an unpleasant experience, and if eating healthy foods is unpleasant, you’ll probably feel defeated and a bit betrayed by your body, which is really bad for your relationship with food.
There are trillions of bacteria in your digestive tract. Trillions with a capital “T.” These bacteria are responsible for a lot when it comes to digestion. These gut flora are important for the absorption of nutrients and there are also studies that show that a good balance of these bacteria can help you:
- Improve immune function.
- Improve digestive function (they help you stay regular).
- Reduce anxiety and depression.
- Help you reach and stay at a healthy weight.
There is a big connection between your gut and you brain. Your brain and your stomach are connected via their own nervous system– meaning there’s a direct line of communication between your gut and your brain. This means that the balance of gut bacteria in your digestive tract has the potential to influence your food choices.
If you have an imbalance of gut bacteria or dysbiosis, chances are that your cravings might be influenced by these “bad” bacteria. They tend to thrive on sugar and can create powerful sugar cravings. Having a good balance of gut flora is important to your digestive health and to your relationship with food.
3. Hormone Imbalance
Your digestive system is more than just your stomach and your intestines. It includes organs, like your liver, which are also involved in other processes– like making and secreting hormones. Often when a part of your digestive system isn’t working as well as it could be, these glands are affected. When any endocrine or hormone secreting organ is impaired, chances are that another endocrine gland is affected.
Your hormones are all intricately connected. If eating certain foods puts your body under physical stress, it can affect your adrenal glands, which play a big role in how you manage stress, and your energy levels. It can also affect your thyroid, which is big part of regulating your metabolism.
Ultimately, this means that your digestion has the power to affect your metabolism, your energy levels and how well you manage stress. Stressed out people often have out of control cravings for sugar and processed foods, or they eat to relieve stress. Whenever you are making food choices that don’t feel like your own it perpetuates a bad relationship with food.
4. Liver Burden
Your liver is a pretty busy organ. It’s tasked with filtering literally everything you put in your body. When you’re eating more processed and refined foods than whole foods, your liver can become overworked, which can affect your energy levels, your immune system, and your digestion (it’s a nasty cycle). You might have fatigue, headaches, confusion and bad breath– all of these things won’t make you feel so great, which will definitely influence your food choices and affect how you feel about food.
When you feel good, you’re more likely to be happy with what you eat and your body.
When your digestion is running smoothly, it’s a pretty safe bet that the rest of your body– your immune system, your detoxification systems, your hormones– are also running smoothly. You’ll also feel good. And when you feel good–when you feel healthy and light– your more likely to make good choices for yourself and your more likely to cultivate a balanced relationship with food.
Feeling fatigued from an adrenal imbalance (which can be related to your digestion), makes deciding to eat healthy foods harder.
Feeling overweight from a thyroid imbalance (which can also be related to your digestion), can make your body feel uncomfortable and foreign, which makes choosing healthy foods harder and worrying about your weight even more distressing.
5. Feeling Unhealthy Is Scary
It’s even scarier when you have weight loss goals in the back of your mind.
You tell yourself that you want to be healthy. You know that healing your gut is important, but in the back of your mind, you’re still trapped in the conventional diet mentality.
Ultimately, healing your gut and your digestion can help put your body back into a physical balance. This physical balance supports an emotional balance and a healthy relationship with food.
Your digestive function is a window into your overall health.