A digestive system is designed to perform the function of converting food into energy and the nutrients our body needs and to eliminate the stool or wastes out of the body.
The organs our digestive system contains are; mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus.
A digestive system feeds the whole body with energy and nutrients to survive, when food is broken down to its nutrient components the whole body waits for their delivery to carry on its functions to keep a person active and moving. A body with a healthy digestive system digests and absorbs almost 90% of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the food within 24 to 48 hours.
A glimpse of how digestive system works from top to bottom;
A bite of food is taken, saliva is produced which is mixed with the food with the help of tongue to form a bolus which is then swallowed and propel to the esophagus, muscles contract and relax in the process of peristalsis to let the food enter in the stomach. Stomach acids and enzymes are produced to mix with food and form a chyme (a semifluid paste or mass of partially digested food).
Chyme is expelled into the duodenum (the upper portion of the small intestine) and mixes with multiple digestive juices from pancreas, liver and gallbladder. The food then enters Jejunum and further broken down to be able to absorb then moves to the longest portion of the small intestine; the ileum, where all the nutrients are absorbed.
A mixture of water, electrolytes and waste products remains from the food when it moves to the end of ileum. Almost all of the water is absorbed when the residue passes through the colon and stool is formed, muscles separate the waste which is then pushed into rectum and rectal walls stretch to give the signal for bowel movement. With the relaxation of sphincter muscles in the anus, the rectal muscles contract and pressure is increased, these movements of muscles expel the stool.
Things our digestive tract needs us to do
Slow eating – no belch, no hiccup
If you feel embarrassed by a noisy belch produced by your digestive tract, try to eat slowly as air air is swallowed while eating or drinking which causes gas, moreover; the carbonated beverages contain gas that makes you burp loud. Your digestive system can’t help hiccup when you eat or drink fast so relax when you eat something and provide ease to your digestive system by sitting while you eat your meal which will not disturb the functioning of your digestive system and won’t let you be offended with constant hiccups.
Healthy eating – no heartburn
If you don’t want to experience heartburn, try to avoid too much eating as it burns up the digestive tract because when the stomach is too-full the acid backs up into the esophagus and similar situation occur when you lay immediately after having your meal, have an excess fat or wear tight jeans that squeeze your stomach. Make healthy food choices to help your digestive system work effectively.
Avoid self-medication and misleading advertisements
Be careful when you opt for antacids to relieve heartburn because the stomach produces more acids in response to the reduction in acidity by antacids in order to sustain normal acid condition. Always consult your doctor instead of being fooled by the misleading advertisement of the acid reducers that further worsen the process of digestion plus causing a reduction in defensive mechanism against multiple infections.
Prevent bacterial diseases
Be conscious of what you take as a medicine is actually worth ingesting as many acid reducing medicines permit multiple disease causing bacteria to move across which can otherwise be destroyed by the caustic juices.
Careful eating – no choking
Protect yourself from the harm of choking by eating slowly and allowing the food to break into pieces before you take another bite in your mouth, avoid laughing and breathing hard while eating. Choking can be harmful in a way that it can cause irritation and can cause death. To help yourself in choking make a fist of your hand and place
Respond efficiently to the signals by your digestive system
Stay alert to the signals send by your digestive system, never avoid the signal of defecating even if you are pretty occupied with work because the colon extracts water from the feces as long as you keep ignoring the signal to excrete them out resulting in hardening of feces which eventually cause constipation. Choose fiber rich foods as fiber produces bulk and makes bowel movement smooth and easy, stay hydrated and incorporate physical activity to strengthen the muscles of colon along with other muscles of the body.
Never make a drastic change to diet
If you don’t want to suffer from diarrhea and don’t want your digestive system to draw water and minerals from the body so avoid making sudden and quick modifications in diet. In order to let your digestive tract work smoothly introduce new foods slowly and see if they cause any irritation, in case of any inconvenience in digesting or absorbing the newly introduced food omit it from your diet.
Maintain a healthy digestive tract by adopting a healthy eating style and making healthy food choices, prevent symptoms that hinder healthy working of your digestive system. Consult your doctor if any problem arises.