Digestive System – Digestive Health
Often the digestive system is only thought of as consisting of the mouth and stomach. But the truth is it is actually a whole system of organs designed to ingest food, break it down, digest it and excrete waste. Many organs play a role in the digestive system including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, small and large intestines. With so many organs in play, maintaining good digestive health is essential in achieving overall good health.
The digestive process involves breaking down the food that we eat into smaller parts that can be used by the body to provide nourishment and energy. It begins in the mouth where food is chewed and mixed with saliva. The food then moves through the esophagus and into the stomach where it is chemically broken down by stomach acid.
The movement of the muscles in the esophagus, stomach and small intestine also help to further break down the food. The mixture is emptied into the small intestine where it dissolves further. All of the nutrients are then absorbed through the intestinal walls and the waste is processed via the colon.
The digestive system and the body’s immune system are are more closely related and inter-dependent than many people realize. The immune system relies on the nutrients supplied by the digestive process. Likewise, the digestive system relies on the immune system to protect it from parasites, fungi, viruses and bacteria that enter the stomach via the food we consume.
Most damage to your digestive health results from poor food and nutrition choices. Excess sugar, alcohol, calories and fat are not good for your digestive health. Bad habits that contribute to digestive problems include not chewing your food properly and eating too quickly. In addition, parasites can cause problems with your digestive process. Food that has not be washed or cooked properly can introduce parasites into your body, which can impair your digestive health.
Allergies can also play a role in damaging your digestive system. The most common allergens are wheat, dairy and egg products. These foods all contain proteins that are very complex and difficult for the digestive system to handle.
Some people are more susceptible to food allergies than others because they lack the enzymes required to digest these complex proteins. Allergens can cause damage to the intestinal wall which allows toxins through to the bloodstream. This can be the cause of many ailments that leave you feeling unwell.
Eliminating problematic foods from your diet may be accomplished under the supervision of a physician or health professional as a means of determining if you are suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. In most cases, once problematic foods have been eliminated, they cannot be re-introduced to the body ever again without causing more severe symptoms.
There are many symptoms of poor digestive health. They can include constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, skin rashes, migraines, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, mood swings, acne, depression, irritability, thrush, vomiting, weight loss, excessive gas and chronic pain.
Digestive diseases and disorders are common, and many people suffer for long periods undiagnosed. Some common ones include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, Celiac Disease, Ulcerative colitis and Candida.
The digestive system is critical to your overall health and involves many major organs. It also supplies the body and the immune system with all the essential nutrients and energy required to function. Poor digestive health can lead to debilitating disease, and so, should be taken very seriously.
Eating well, following a balanced diet and doing those things that promote a healthy digestive system will provide your body with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs for you to feel strong, healthy and well.