How Does Your Digestive System Work?
The human body is amazing! It is made up of a combination of complex systems that all work together to keep you alive, healthy, and fully functioning. These systems include your nervous system, lymphatic system, immune system, and many more. Of course, all of these systems need a variety of nutrients delivered to them in order to continue functioning, which is where your digestive system comes in.
This important system is the one responsible for extracting nutrients from the food you eat so they can be distributed throughout your body. In order to do this effectively, it’s important for your digestive system to be as healthy as possible, and it’s a lot easier to keep your digestive system healthy when you understand how it works. So, here’s a basic overview.
The Importance of Digestion
Before we get into the details of how this system works, let’s take a minute to discuss why digestion is so important. As we just mentioned, each system in your body needs to be properly nourished by the foods you eat. However, the only way for the nutrients from food to be assimilated, or absorbed, by your cells is by your body first digesting that food. Enter, the digestive system.
As food is pushed through your digestive tract, it is broken down into its base parts, which can then be assimilated and used by your body to create energy as well as nourish other systems that help to build bone, create red blood cells, and carry out all the other processes that are needed to keep you going. When it comes down to it, your body wouldn’t be able to sustain itself without the help of your digestive system.
How Your Digestive System Works
In the most simple terms, the digestive system is a group of organs that work together to break down food and convert it into basic components that can be used by your body. These organs are all connected by your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is the path that food and drinks take from the moment they enter your body through your mouth until they are eliminated as waste.
As food makes its way through your GI tract, it will pass through organs like your stomach and intestines and be broken down with the assistance of the bacteria in your gut microbiome as well as the bile and digestive enzymes that are secreted by your liver and pancreas.
Once the food has been broken down and the nutrients have been assimilated, whatever is left is carried through the remainder of your GI tract so that the waste and any toxins that your body needs to get rid of can be expelled from your body. All in all, the entire digestion process typically takes between 24 and 72 hours. Now that you have a general idea of how this system works, let’s take a look at the path in a little more detail.
Mouth and Esophagus
From the second that food enters your mouth, your body gets to work breaking it down with the help of your saliva. Not only does saliva make it easier to thoroughly chew your food, but it also contains special enzymes that help kickstart the process of digestion. Once you are done chewing, the food enters the esophagus, which is the tube that is responsible for transporting food from your mouth to your stomach.
While your saliva may have started the process, the stomach is where digestion really picks up. You can think of your stomach as the storage tank for your food. When you eat a large meal, this is where food is stored while it awaits the rest of the digestive process. However, just because food is in your stomach doesn’t mean it’s not being digested. Thanks to stomach acid and digestive enzymes, even food that is being stored in your stomach is being digested.
When your body is ready, the food that is being stored in your stomach is then moved to your small intestine to be further broken down. Here, a process known as peristalsis is used to push food through the intestines. While the food is moving through, the bile and enzymes that are excreted by your liver and pancreas are used to continue digesting food, and any nutrients that are released from this process are absorbed by your intestinal walls to be distributed all throughout your body. Whatever is not broken down by the end of your small intestine is pushed through to the large intestine.
As the last phase of the digestive process, the large intestine, or colon, doesn’t actually do much digesting. Since most of the nutrient absorption happens in earlier stages, the main function of the large intestine is to wrap up the process by absorbing any water or fat-soluble nutrients that are remaining. The large intestine is also home to the bacteria that make up your gut microbiome, and these bacteria help with digestion by breaking down dietary fiber and any leftover nutrients. Whatever waste is leftover is pushed through the remainder of your colon to be expelled from your body in the form of stool.
Tips To Maintain A Healthy Digestive System
When your digestive system is operating smoothly, you likely won’t be aware of most of these complicated functions. However, it’s important to understand that this system is also directly impacted by many of your lifestyle choices. With that in mind, here are four simple tips you can implement to help ensure your digestive system stays as healthy as possible.
1. Chew Your Food Thoroughly
The simple act of thoroughly chewing your food is often underestimated, but it is much more powerful than you may think. Your mouth is where the whole digestion process begins, and chewing is a vital part of this beginning stage as it is what initially breaks down your food. The more thoroughly you chew your food while eating, the less work has to be done by your digestive system later. What’s more? When your stomach is full, it can take a while for your brain to receive that signal. When you slow down and take your time while eating, you are giving your body ample opportunity to let you know when it’s time to stop eating. With that in mind, aim to chew each bite about 20 to 30 times before swallowing.
2. Eat Plenty Of Fiber
Your digestive health is directly impacted by your diet. Filling your plate with fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies, and legumes is one of the best ways to ensure that the foods you’re eating are supporting your digestive system. Fiber helps food pass through your GI tract properly and promotes healthy, comfortable bowel movements.
3. Stay Hydrated
In addition to eating fiber-rich foods, you’ll also want to keep yourself properly hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. When you are properly hydrated, your digestive system is better equipped to break down fats and fiber and easily move food along your digestive tract. Drinking too little water throughout the day can lead to digestive discomfort and uncomfortable bowel movements, so be sure to fill up your water bottle and keep sipping on it throughout the day.
4. Take Digestive Enzymes
As you now know, digestive enzymes play a vital role in helping your body digest food. While your body does create these enzymes on its own, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it always creates enough to get the job done. If you want to supplement the enzymes your body makes naturally, there are a number of foods that contain digestive enzymes. However, with food processing being so common in today’s world, the truth is that the enzymes in these foods aren’t always as effective as they should be. That’s why, taking a digestive enzyme supplement is your best option for boosting the amount of these important enzymes your body has available to use, which can ultimately help boost gut health and keep digestive discomfort at bay.
Improve Your Digestion With Enzymes
You deserve to look and feel your best, and having a healthy digestive system can help you do just that. Understanding how this important system works allows you to make simple lifestyle changes that will go a long way toward achieving optimal digestive health.
If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to support your digestive system, look no further than Enzymes from New Earth. Each capsule of Enzymes contains a delicate blend of fifteen different natural, plant-based food enzymes, micro-blended with organic Wild Microalgae® to supply the enzymes with specific vitamins, minerals, and other cofactors, to help the body break down and assimilate a complete range of nutrients from your food.
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At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.