The digestive system is an amazing cascade of mechanical motion, chemical messengers, acid destroying protein, enzymatic reactions complimented by gut bacteria and our immune systems.
Digestive balance requires proper functioning of a lot of different parts.
So you have a keener sense of what it happening as food travels through your body, lets take a look at the journey of digestion. It doesn’t have to be such a mystery.
Digestion begins here, as you chew enzymes in the mouth work on breaking down the carbohydrates. Chew your food well, it helps with digestion and also slower eating rates are associated with lower calorie intake. (1)
Our mouths can be very dirty, follow the advice of all dentists, brush and floss so you can keep this part of your digestive system working well.
Esophagus to the Stomach
Food passes through the esophagus to the stomach, where we really start to pay attention to digestion. That is because if there are any problems, it seems this is where they start. Stomachs get upset, there are so many nerves going to the stomach, they are very sensitive.
There is actually a lot happening in the stomach during digestion. As food sits in the stomach and we start feeling full, chemical messengers are sent to the brain, which result in us “feeling full”. Stomach acid, and a few other players are essential to start chemically breaking down protein and snatching up the vitamin B-12. The stomach then squeezes the food down into a kind of paste.
After the stomach decides it is finished with the food then it passes all that mushed up food paste into the small intestine. This is where the back up dancers get to show their stuff. The pancreas release enzymes that continue to break down of the carbohydrates, protein and fat we ate. The gall bladder releases bile that works to wrap the fats we are digesting into little packages we can absorb. Can you imagine if we didn’t have the gall bladder and pancreas? Well ya, it would complicate digestion. If these organs aren’t working properly then digestive issues can also occur here. Fiber really plays a pivotal roll here too, it nourishes the healthy bacteria and along with water keep the feces flowing smoothly along its route to-you know where.
- Fogel, A., Goh, A. T., Fries, L. R., Sadananthan, S. A., Velan, S. S., Michael, N., . . . Forde, C. G. (2017, April). Faster eating rates are associated with higher energy intakes during an Ad libitum meal, higher BMI and greater adiposity among 4.5 year old children – Results from the GUSTO cohort. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472197/
- Nadia Fathallah, Dominique Bouchard, Vincent de Parades, Les règles hygiéno-diététiques dans la constipation chronique de l’adulte : du fantasme à la réalité…, La Presse Médicale, Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2017, Pages 23-30, ISSN 0755-4982, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lpm.2016.03.019. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0755498216304055)