Ever wondered how our tummy digests every food we take all day? How they work all day? Here’s an overview how.
Digestion works by moving food through the GI tract. Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and ends in the small intestine. As food passes through the GI tract, it mixes with digestive juices, causing large molecules of food to break down into smaller molecules. The body then absorbs these smaller molecules through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream, which delivers them to the rest of the body. Waste products of digestion pass through the large intestine and out of the body as a solid matter called stool.
Now, why on earth should we consider taking good care of our digestive system? Why should we consider looking for the best foods for digestive health?
As Christine Okezie, a certified holistic health counselor, explains it, you should think of your digestive system as an “inner ecosystem.”
“Our gut is home to about 100 trillion bacteria that digest our food, regulate our hormones, eliminate toxins and produce key nutrients,” she said. “That’s more than 10 times the number of cells in the entire human body. With over 400 species of these ‘bugs’ in our gut, our health depends on maintaining the critical balance between the good and harmful intestinal bacteria.”
So basically it means that if our digestive system fails, our immune system may also fail. And that reason alone can justify the question, “Why do we need to take good care of our digestive system?”
Now, taking good care of your digestive system doesn’t require that much. We can always follow simple steps to live a healthy lifestyle. And here are a few of them:
To help keep your digestive system healthy:
- Get some exercise every day. Build up slowly to at least 2½ hours of exercise a week.
- Stay at a healthy weight through sensible eating and exercise.
To prevent diarrhea, avoid food or water that may be tainted with bacteria. Raw or uncooked seafood and meat are high-risk foods. When you travel, avoid drinking the local water. A good rule of thumb is, “If it’s not boiled, well-cooked, or peeled, don’t eat it.”
To help prevent cirrhosis of the liver, limit alcohol to 3 drinks a day for men and 2 drinks a day for women.
To avoid constipation:
- Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fibre. If needed, take a fibre supplement such as Benefibre or Metamucil, every day. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when having a bowel movement.
- Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
To prevent or ease the symptoms of IBS:
- Do not smoke. Smoking can make digestion problems worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
- Manage stress through deep breathing, guided imagery, or exercise. Any activity that helps you relax will help.
And lastly, of course, is to find and get the best foods for digestive health in town. Or you can find digestive probiotics that of course your doctor prescribed.
Be sure to check out bioptimizers.com for the best of the best probiotic brands and products.