Even though our digestive system has no problems dealing with vegetables, fruit, seeds, grains and various other natural food, fatty, processed and junk food-based diet can lead to numerous illnesses. Additionally, people need to consume fiber-rich food in order to avoid problems which can affect the digestive system significantly.
Guts of people in America are mistreated on a daily basis. About 37.4 million people visit their physician for digestive system problems while 15.2% of people end up in the emergency department due to same issues yearly.
Some of the most common digestive system ailments are constipation and irritable bowel syndrome which affect about 1.8 million people annually. One of the worst case scenarios, colorectal cancer, affected 70,651 men and 68,883 women in 2002, leading to death in many cases. Moreover, about half a million of adults in the US suffer from Crohn's disease, again, due to their unhealthy eating habits.
All in all, we have changed and modified our nutrition significantly. Yet, our digestive system was not modified the same way. Thus, it simply cannot cope with the unhealthy food we expose it to. Hence the inflammations, the infections, the diseases and all other complications which are becoming more and more common nowadays, affecting one's gastrointestinal system.
The Digestive System
When we eat something, we chew it first, keeping it in our mouth. Through these processes we break down the food before consumption, by an enzyme called amylase which produces glucose molecules from starch. Once we swallow the chewed and broken down food, it travels through our digestive tract, from the esophagus to the stomach, being stored and broken down even further by numerous powerful enzymes and strong stomach acids. Then, the product of this process travels further, to the small intestine, where it is exposed to strong enzymes from the pancreas, absorbing the nutrients. The leftovers, which are not digested, are transferred into the large intestine, where they are further broken down by our body's benign bacteria, absorbing the remaining water and forming feces which will be expelled from the colon at the end of the digestive process.
However, some types of unhealthy food we eat cannot be affected by the enzymes or the bacteria, making the digestive process dysfunctional, leading to health problems mentioned above.
Fiber Consumption Necessity
In order for our digestion to work well, we need to consume soluble fiber, which swells when exposed to water, becoming a gel-like mass which makes our stool soft and easy to pass. Also, this fiber-rich food keeps our blood cholesterol levels balanced, normalizing the glucose and insulin levels too. Also, it inhibits colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids and constipation.
The best fiber to consume is oat bran and wheat bran. Both of these make the stool weigh more, passing more easily.