(NaturalNews) This article continues part three of the 15-part article series called Heal Yourself in 15 Days. In part two, we explored your innate healing potential and saw how powerful your self-healing abilities really are (http://www.naturalnews.com/028060_self_heali...). Here in part three, we look at a powerful principle of nutrition: You aren't what you eat; you are what you ABSORB.
Many people suffer from poor digestion. In fact, you might say that most people aren't able to absorb the nutrients they swallow, so they remain in a state of nutritional starvation even though they're taking supplements that would otherwise be quite helpful.
These people tend to scratch their heads, wondering why all the nutrients they're swallowing aren't having the positive effects they had hoped for. The answer to this conundrum is found in enhancing the absorption of those nutrients.
Strong stomach acid is good for you
Pharmaceutical pill pushers have convinced many people that stomach acid is bad for your health. By promoting diseases like "acid reflux" or GERD, they misinform consumers into believing that heartburn and stomach pain are caused by too much stomach acid. But the truth is that in most (but not all) cases people actually suffer from weak stomach acid and they need stronger stomach acid to properly digest foods.
It's easy to test this by swallowing a teaspoon (or so) of vinegar with your meal and asking yourself whether it feels better or worse. For a surprisingly large percentage of people, the extra vinegar halts the pain they might normally feel after such a meal. This is a strong indication that they lack proper stomach acid production and could benefit from stronger acid. Vinegar is acidic, you see. Not as acidic as stomach acid, but far more acidic than most foods or beverages.
Consumers have been persuaded by drug advertising to swallow over-the-counter antacid tablets -- products that are actually very alkaline and therefore lower the acidity (i.e. raise the pH) of the liquids in your stomach.
What most people don't realize is that minerals require an acidic digestive environment to be properly digested and absorbed. If you lack proper stomach acid, you won't be able to properly absorb minerals even if you swallow them! And this can lead to mineral deficiencies that promote the development of diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, arthritis and even heart problems (among other things).
So how do you encourage the production of healthy stomach acid? In my experience, drinking fresh vegetable juices each day -- especially celery and cabbage juices -- greatly boosts stomach health, ultimately supporting healthy stomach acid production.
Digestive enzymes from living foods
Digestion is a complex process. It requires biochemical and physical processes to break down ingested substances into their nutritional components. This process is significantly aided by digestive enzymes which exist naturally in living foods (fresh, raw vegetable and fruit juices, for example).
Heating foods (cooking them) destroys all digestive enzymes. This is one reason why cooked foods steal life away from people while raw, living foods impart life. Living foods usually come with their own digestive enzymes, aiding your digestive processes in breaking down and absorbing nutrients.
Dead foods -- which include anything pasteurized -- stress your liver, pancreas and gallbladder by requiring these organs to produce extra digestive enzymes that are missing from the foods themselves. Because many people suffer from poor digestive organ function, they have difficulties absorbing the nutrients they've swallowed.
Many people suffer from serious intestinal flora imbalances. Western medicine, for the most part, remains astonishingly ignorant about the importance of intestinal flora to overall health, but those who study more holistic medicine understand the important role that these "inner bacteria" play in your health: The bacteria in your gut actually digest and transform nutrients you eat into other nutrients.
They are, in essence, nutrient transformers that operate inside your body, producing nutrients needed for your health. That's why people who take antibiotics often suffer serious digestive side effects in the days that follow: They've wiped out all the friendly intestinal bacteria that were providing essential nutrients!
It's easy to remedy this imbalance: Take probiotic supplements on a regular basis. This will feed your digestive tract the friendly bacteria you need.
And don't fall for the marketing sham of eating yogurt, thinking it's loaded with probiotics. Virtually all store-bought yogurt is pasteurized, and pasteurization kills the friendly bacteria. This makes most "probiotic yogurt" products nothing more than a dishonest marketing gimmick.
By the way, if you want healthy intestinal flora, it's also important to reduce your consumption of dietary sugars. When you consume more sugars, you alter the bacterial population in your gut, causing a shift toward bacteria that feed on sugars. As you alter your diet to exclude refined sugars, the population of bacteria in your gut follows suit, shifting towards a non-sugar bacterial population.
Everything I've said here is supported by quotations on the website www.NaturalPedia.com where I've assembled over one million unique web pages covering tens of thousands of natural health topics.
For those looking for more specific scientific references, simply use Google.com or Google Scholar to search for the topics described here. You'll even find many of them right here on NaturalNews if you use the search box at the top of this page.
(I'm often amazed when some people demand references for things that can be easily found with a simple Google search. The classic use of article references dates back to the era of library card catalogs when finding information was a laborious task. But today, not even 20 years later, finding information is virtually effortless on the 'net. If you want to find information about how eating sugars alters the bacteria in your gut, for example, just search Google for "eating sugars alters the bacteria in your gut".
When I run that search on Google, I get over 70,000 page results...
Coming up next: This "Heal Yourself in 15 Days" article series continues tomorrow, when you'll learn how to change your health by changing your blood...
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.