Taking care of one’s digestive system can have a huge impact on one’s overall health.  A properly functioning digestive system ensures the breakdown of complex food into its smaller, useable constituents such as amino acids, simple sugars, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and numerous other phytonutrients which the body needs to build, maintain and regenerate itself. This digestive process is facilitated by enzymes produced in the mouth and by the pancreas, hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach, as well as bile salts excreted by the gallbladder.

Aging, stress, fast eating and overeating can all impact digestion negatively and lead not only to poor assimilation of food, but also to digestive upset. Longstanding indigestion can result in chronic gut irritation and can lead to leaky gut syndrome, a condition where the intestinal lining loses its barrier function and begins to allow undigested proteins and other digestive toxins to enter the internal environment. Once in the body, these substances create systemic inflammation or lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. Therefore, optimizing digestion can have far reaching health benefits.

Tips for optimizing digestion

 Eat slowly in a pleasant, stress free environment

  • Chew properly to activate the process of digestion which begins in the  mouth
  • Eat till you feel ¾ full. Overeating limits digestive capacity
  • Include fermented foods. Fermented foods were once a staple in every culture. Fermentation predigests food for better assimilation. Furthermore, acids produced during fermentation keep pathogenic microorganisms (such as candida, which tend to reside in the gut) in check.
  • Include bitter foods in your diet such as kale, collards, arugula, rapini, dandelion and endives, or take digestive bitters made from herbs to stimulate the excretion of all digestive juices.
  • Take digestive enzymes with your meals. Choose between pancreatic animal-based extracts or the more common, fungal-sourced, plant-based enzymes to assist with proper food assimilation.

Kristina’s pick

New Roots Digestive Enzyme with HCL


Besides pancreatic enzymes that assist in the breakdown of food in the small intestines, this formula also includes bile salts normally excreted by the gallbladder which help to digest fat. Because poor gallbladder function can often be part of an underlying digestive issue, many people find this formula effective, where other enzymes have not proven as beneficial.