Why do I need good digestion?
Published June 23, 2014
Having a well‐functioning digestive system is critical for a healthy body; it ensures the food that we eat is broken down into its simplest form that the body can use for nourishment and to convert into energy. What we eat is important to our overall health but so too is how well we break down and absorb our food.
Our digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), which is a series of organs, joined by a long muscular twisting tube. It begins at the mouth and ends at the anal passage. Organs along the GIT include the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Other parts of the body involved in digestion include the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Each organ plays a different but equally important role in the digestive process. For example:
- The mouth chews food to break it down into more manageable pieces. It’s mixed with saliva, which contains special enzymes that also help to break it down.
- The stomach is responsible for mixing food with acid and enzymes to break it down further into a more usable form.
- The small intestine further breaks down food using digestive enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver. It’s here that many nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
- The large intestine is in charge of absorbing water, electrolytes and some vitamins, and for processing and eliminating waste.
Tips for good digestion
- Chew your food properly and mindfully
- Eat smaller more regular meals throughout the day
- Sit down to eat rather than eating on the run
- Manage stress
- Eat foods rich in fiber to add bulk to the stools and encourage the passage of material through the GIT1
- Drink plenty of water, which helps dissolve some nutrients, encourages the passage of waste through the GIT and softens stools1.
- Exercise regularly as it stimulates intestinal muscles to push digestive material through your system and reduces sluggishness1.
- Consider a digestive support supplement with digestive enzymes and ginger.
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