The Surprising Role of Relaxation in Digestion

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The Surprising Role of Relaxation in Digestion

I recently wrote about the stress response and how it’s counterproductive to digestion. When you’re in a state of stress, even chronic, low level stress, your body shuts down digestion. That makes calorie burning inefficient. Stress also signals your body to produce insulin and cortisol, hormones which tell your body to store fat.

So if eating under stress is something we should avoid, what are we to do instead? Obviously, not everyone has the luxury to dine at every meal. Whose life is like that? But here are some things you can do to shift your body into a relaxation response while you’re eating. These small changes can help your body burn calories more efficiently.

Ultimately, your goal is to take more time to eat. So if you currently eat lunch in 10 minutes at your desk, can you take 20 minutes and step away from your desk? Try lengthening the amount of time it takes you to finish your meal. Start small. Take an extra 5 minutes. Take smaller bites. Chew more thoroughly. Put your fork down between bites. These strategies aren’t designed to get you to eat less. Just to get you to eat more slowly.

Take a few deep breaths (from your stomach, not your shoulders) before you start to eat and in between bites. It will both relax you and introduce more oxygen into your digestive system. It might be useful to think of your digestive system as a furnace that needs oxygen to burn.

Listen to relaxing music while eating or, if you can, have a nice conversation with someone whose company you enjoy. Just don’t talk about anything stressful while you eat.

Forget trying to multitask. You’re working against your own biology when you do that. When it’s time to eat, just eat. Relax and enjoy your meal. Again, when your body is in the state of parasympathetic nervous system dominance, meaning you’re relaxed and not on edge, it can do its best, most efficient job of digesting your meal.

Your Spatz adjustable gastric balloon is doing its part to help you lose weight. You can do your part by eating in a relaxed state as often as possible.

Rebeca Espinoza 100x65Author: Rebeca Espinoza

Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at rebeca@spatzmedical.com. Like the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon page on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest for healthy eating tips, inspiring quotes, videos and photos and more.

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