The kind of food and the manner of consuming it make all the difference when it comes to health of our digestive system. A well working digestive system will have no problems breaking down whatever we eat, providing that it is healthy. However, if our nutrition causes our stomach acids and other elements to be imbalanced, there are great chances that this will reflect on our health. Inadequate food, stress and exposure to chemicals are all factors which contribute to the deterioration of our digestive system's health.
The Digestive Process
The main purpose of digestion is breaking the food we consume into the smallest elements, molecules which are capable of passing through the cell membranes of our gut so that these can be absorbed into the blood and the lymph.
Our entire digestive system spreads from our mouth to our anus. Thus the food we eat goes through our mouth, the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and then large intestine, before leaving the body through the rectum. However, our teeth, tongue, salivary glands, as well as liver and pancreas, all are involved in the process of digestion.
The walls of our gastrointestinal tract contract and move in order to mix the food we have consumed with various bodily fluids which better the digestive process, breaking the food down. Enzymes in the area contribute to this process. Once the procedure is done, the specific movement of the guts propels the rest of the digested mass to the next level.
The most important part of digestion process takes place in the small intestine, where enzymes produced by the pancreas trigger the nutrient absorption process. We absorb these enzymes as single sugars, proteins as amino acids and fats as monoglycerides or fatty acids. The liver helps here, by producing bile, crucial for digestive purposes.
Vitamins which are soluble in fats are consumed with the latter while the diffusion process absorbs those which are soluble in water. As for vitamin B12, intrinsic process is necessary for the absorption. Finally, certain bacteria inhabiting our intestine help us get the vitamins we need.
Proper Nutrition and Digestive System
The way we eat food and the type of food we eat are both factors crucial for proper digestive system functioning. We should eat food carefully and slowly, chewing it carefully and thoroughly. If you happen to feel bloated after meals, perhaps you should take certain digestive enzymes as supplements. Bromelain or papain can help the process of breaking down proteins and fat in the small intestine, for example, and thus is a very important addition to your digestive system,if your natural presence of these enzymes is low.
Remember, our digestive system gets less functional as we grow older. Thus, supplements will be necessary sooner or later, in order to provide a painless digestion without problems and complications. Sometimes, a glass of apple cider vinegar before eating can be all you need. Finally, probiotics and some herbal medications such as hops, peppermint, valerian, chamomile or sage, are all good for our stomach.