For many of us digestion can be a difficult issue. It’s not easy to talk about, but the problems that poor digestion causes can interfere with our lives and can really occupy our thoughts. It can create a whole new world of stress in itself, worrying where the next toilet will be can be pretty distracting and can ruin our enjoyment of so many things, including what we eat. Reducing anxiety and stress in our lives can have a hugely beneficial impact on our digestion.
When we become stressed our bodies activate the “flight or fight” response in our central nervous system. Digestion can shut down because our central nervous system shuts down the blood flow, this then affects the contractions of your digestive muscles, and decreases secretions needed for digestion, this can result in constipation. Conversely stress can cause our colon to react in a way that results in diarrhoea. Either way it can be a real pain.
So making our lives more mindful and meditating regularly really can help get digestive problems under control, or less out of control! Learning some simple relaxation exercises can help us out massively by reducing the fight or fight response being activated when it isn’t needed. At certain times in our lives we may trigger this reaction more and more and then we may live in a state of high alert. If we can learn methods to calm ourselves more quickly and get our body working properly again we will minimise the impact on our bodies.
When we calm ourselves and think clearly then we can also make good food choices to help any ongoing problems that we experience. Those of us with digestive problems will do almost anything to help sort them out because they really can be so debilitating. I am constantly on the look out for foods that aid my digestion and Chia seeds have been a great find for me.
I have a friend who is into bread making and she first suggested that I could add them to the flat bread that I make out of Buckwheat flour to add some protein. I was wary of them at first because I had heard that with other seeds they need to be milled or ground otherwise they simply pass through our system without us getting the goodness. However, apparently this is not the case with Chia, what ever form we eat them in we can get the full benefit.
Chia seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water and almost all of the carbohydrate in them is fibre. This means that they swell in our stomachs and turn in to a gel like substance. The benefit of this is that it slows the absorption of our food and helps us to get the most out of it.
So for those who find food passing too quickly through their system they can help to slow this down and make our digestive system work more effectively. Amazingly, for those who want to loose weight, they can also make us feel fuller for longer and prevent overeating.
Chia seeds are tiny to look at but huge in terms of nutritional value. As well as being full of antioxidants they are full of calcium which is a real bonus for me because I don’t eat dairy. They are 14% protein and this is a very high level for a plant food and great for those of us who don’t eat meat. Chia seeds really can keep us strong, it may be no surprise to learn that Chia is the Mayan word for strength.