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You may or may not know how your stomach works, but if you really knew what was going on inside your digestive system it would change the way you eat forever. If you have stomach problems, then this post will help you. You can see from this image where the stomach sits and its approximate shape. Food entering the stomach is landed into an extremely acidic environment. It is so acid that it will clean a penny in minutes and even burn your skin. It is amazing that the stomach doesn’t digestive itself! But that’s the wonder of how the human body is made. Those big chunks of meat and many other foods that we eat are made up of protein. The basic building blocks of proteins are called amino acids and a small chunk of meat literally has millions of these amino acids in it (they are not acid in the sense that the stomach is acid; it is just a scientific name.) The body cannot use proteins in this form - they need to be broken down first. To use the proteins the body must reduce them to single amino acids through a complex process which we call digestion.

Of course, we take all this for granted - until we get sick! Your stomach acid also has other important functions. Although you don’t realise it, all the food that you eat contains billions and billions of bacteria and other bugs. This is true for healthy, clean food produced in the cleanest kitchen. Many of these bacteria would not cause a problem, but some of them can. So the stomach acid is designed to kill all these invading bugs before they have a chance to do any harm.

Your stomach also churns and mixes the food so that the digestive juices can get fully dispersed throughout it. So now we have a highly acidic mixture of the food that you’ve eaten. Anyone who has had heart burn will know how acidic stomach acid really can be. This well-mixed liquid is then passed from your stomach to the next part of your digestive system.

There is a scale in chemistry that measures how acid things are. It is called the pH scale. Stomach acid can have a pH less than 3. A substance which is neutral (in other words is neither acidic nor alkaline) has a pH of 7. Something with a pH of 3 is 10,000 times more acidic than something that is neutral. So somehow, the body has to take this very acidic food as it leaves the stomach and neutralise it, because the rest of the digestive system cannot tolerate acidity. To think that all this highly complex chemistry is happening every minute inside your body, just boggles the mind!

You might be surprised to find out that as we get older our ability to produce stomach acid declines. This causes indigestion, and taking a simple supplement each day containing Hcl and Betaine can often help enormously. Alternatively you can take enzymes that help your stomach to do its job (see post ‘Enzyme products that work’). Either of these solutions can be enormously helpful. If you want to find out what the best approach is for you, then why not learn the NHD technique, and discover the whole new world of natural healing that empowers you to take control of your own health. A free preview about NHD is available on this site (just click here).

Stay tuned because next we're going to be discussing how your body manages to digest fatty foods....

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