Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Amazing Digestive System

Your body knows when it needs food, and it lets you know when it needs food as well! Your brain and hormones send signals to your mind in the sensation of hunger. Stomach growling, empty feeling in the stomach - they both contribute to the desire to eat, then as you begin to eat your digestion starts.

Your taste buds are what help you determine what is sweet, salty, savoury, bitter or sour. The rest of your senses like smell can determine how much you really like the food. It has been proven that the foods aroma is thousands of times more sensitive than the sense of taste and can determine whether you like the food or not.

I have a personal example of this. The other day I was drinking coffee that tasted amazing! It was flavoured with caramel and other flavours, but the lid on the coffee smelled like burnt plastic and every time I went to take a drink I would get disgusted because of that smell. It actually overrode my enjoyment in the taste of the coffee.

In any case your digestive system takes over from there. Here`s a list of the mechanics involved in your digestive system and a summary of what takes place.

Salivary Glands - They produce digestive enzymes for fat and starch.

Mouth - It chews up your food and mixes it with the saliva

Esophagus - Sends the chewed up food to your stomach.

Stomach - Adds acid, enzymes, and fluid to the food. This is where your food becomes a liquid mass instead of the recognizable chunks you put in.

Liver - Is what produces bile which helps with digestion of fats.

Gallbladder - Stores the bile until you need it.

Pancreas - Produces enzymes to digest the energy producing nutrients. It also releases bicarbonate to neutralize the stomach acid that enters into the small intestine.

Bile Duct - Moves the bile to the small intestine.

Pancreatic Duct - Moves pancreatic juice into the small intestine.

Small intestine - Secretes the enzymes to digest carbs, fat, and protein. Also absorbs nutrients into the blood and lymph.

Large Intestine (colon) - Absorbs water and minerals. It also passes the waste including fiber, bacteria, and any unabsorbed nutrients to the rectum.

Rectum - Holds the waste until you are ready to eliminate.

Anus- Holds the rectum closed, and opens to eliminate.

As you can see there is much more to the digestive system then just eating and eliminating. It`s extremely important to keep your digestive system working properly.

Some Tips To Help Keep Your Digestive System Working Well

  • Eat high fiber foods - Fiber attracts water which helps you pass softer stools to move through your colon easier.
  • Don`t overeat - It can cause your digestive system to work too hard, and can cause heartburn from the acid juice backing up into your esophagus - which can burn the esophagus.
  • Avoid foods that irritate you - They irritate you for a reason! Your body is telling you something. If you get heartburn or pains from a food then avoid it.
  • Eat slowly - You can choke if you eat too fast, and chewing your food until it is crushed and moistened helps the digestive system do its job easier.
  • Don`t drink while eating - If you drink while you are eating you can dilute your stomach acids and digestive enzymes which are needed to breakdown your food! It`s best to drink an hour after or before your meal instead.
  • Being healthy means taking your body into consideration, not just listening to what people tell you is good or bad for you.
  • Want to lose weight? Check out Kari's review of the 5 factor diet [], a diet that she believes is about being healthy, not just losing weight