Digestive Stimulants

Definition

A digestive stimulant is a substance that stimulates the function of the gastrointestinal organs involved with digestion.

Types of Digestive Stimulants

Digestive stimulants can be subdivided into:

Biters

Biters are substances capable of strongly stimulating the bitter taste receptors at the back of the tongue and thus evoking a taste of bitterness. This stimulates the release of digestive juices in the upper digestive tract.

Carminatives

Carminatives are substances that relieve flatulence and soothe intestinal spasm and pain, usually by relaxing intestinal smooth muscle and sphincters.

Carminatives are used to relieve the discomfort of colic, griping pain, gastric discomfort, and promote the expulsion of intestinal gas.

Laxatives and Cathartics

Laxatives and Cathartics are remedies which actively promote the evacuation of the bowel.

Laxatives play an important role in detoxification of the body by keeping the bowels working, so keeping this important channel of elimination open.  The bowels are a major source of toxins in the body and constipation can result in reabsorption of toxins the body is trying to get rid of.

Enemies of Digestive Health

The major enemies of proper digestive enzyme health are:

Refined sugar

Sugar has a tendency to wreak havoc in the body as far as mineral production is concerned.  To put it simply - sugar kills enzymes.  When just one essential mineral is out of balance in the body, the entire digestive system can be affected. 

Sugars can be hidden in many foods and under different names, such as glucose, fructose, corn syrup and sugar substitutes such as aspartame.  Sugar can be found in unexpected places as well, such as bread, and even healthy drinks such as those containing yogurt.  Almost any drink product which comes in a can contains sugar, sometimes in very unhealthy amounts.

Trans Fats & Frying Food

Fat is good for a human body. Eating the right kind of fat is absolutely vital for optimal health. Essential fats reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, eczema, depression, fatigue, and many other conditions. However, refining and processing oils can change the nature of the polyunsaturated oil. As an example, margarine can be taken. To turn vegetable oil into hard fat the oil goes through a process called hydrogenation. Although the fat is still technically polyunsaturated, the body can not make use of it.  Even worse, it blocks the body’s ability to use healthy polyunsaturated oils. These processed fats are called a trans-fat because its nature has been changed.

Frying is another way to damage healthy oils. The high temperature makes the oil oxidize and generates harmful free radicals in the body. Frying is therefore best avoided as much as possible, as is any form of burning or browning fat.

Processed Food

Organic, unadulterated whole foods have formed the basis of the human diet through the ages. Only in the twentieth century people began to consume more of processed or cooked food, including white flour, fast food, most packaged snack foods, etc. Processed food destroys enzymes and reduces the activity of phytochemicals.

 

References

  1. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone
  2. Holford, P.(2004). The optimum nutrition bible, Great Britain: Little Brown Group
  3. Porth, C. (2002). Pathophysiology: Concepts of altered health states. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

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