Understanding the Digestion Process to Achieve Better Health

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Digestion is a biological process that breaks down the food you eat. This process starts in the mouth. Once food enters the mouth, the teeth break it down into smaller pieces. Then, the food is moved in the small intestines via the esophagus.

As the food enters the stomach, it is mixed with digestive juices to break it down to even smaller molecules. The walls of the small intestines absorb the smaller molecules of food to enter the bloodstream. Once food molecules enter the bloodstream, they are delivered as nutrients to the rest of the body. Any food debris that is not digested is passed down into the large intestines and expelled as waste called stool or feces.

An Overview of the Digestive System

The digestive system is comprised of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder, and the pancreas. The gastrointestinal tract or GI is made up of hollow organs that connect the mouth to the anus. These organs are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. Apart from the gastrointestinal tract, beneficial bacteria that flourish in the gut area aid in digestion too. These bacteria are called microbiome.

Certain parts of the circulatory and nervous system work with the digestive system to process foods. The nerves, hormones, blood, bacteria complete a series of very complex tasks to process food and convert it to energy.

The Importance of Digestion

Proper digestion is a critical part of your health. If the body is digesting food properly, nutrients are absorbed and body wastes are eliminated. Poor digestion can lead to health problems and behavioral issues. Below are the factors that illustrate the importance of healthy digestion:

Poor Nutrition

If the body is not receiving the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, the organs will not work properly. This causes a domino effect that leads to a number of discomforts and symptoms. Poor nutrient absorption is also associated with severe health illnesses and stress.

Affects the Mood

The food in your system directly affects your mood. Studies show that poor digestion is linked to depression, irritability, and negative behavior. When the body is not getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, the brain and glands are affected as well.

Common Discomforts

Poor digestion could lead to a variety of gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, heartburn, gas, and GERD. If you are not getting enough nutrients, you are vulnerable to joint pain, muscle weakness, headaches, and other discomforts. Skin rashes, arthritis, and seasonal allergies are other symptoms associated with a faulty digestive system.

Weak Immune System

To stay healthy, the immune system is dependent completely on nutrients that are broken down through digestion. For instance, a faulty digestive system could lead to the malabsorption of vitamins A, C, or E. If the body is not digesting and absorbing nutrients from the food you eat, it becomes vulnerable to common sickness and infections.

Poor Body Functions

Inability to process food could lead to hormonal problems, high stress, and mental issues. When the body is not getting enough fuel, the cells are deprived of nutrients to stay healthy. And when this happens, the organs will start deteriorating. This leads to compromised body functions, depletion of enzymes, and hormones that are directly and indirectly involved in digestion.