The importance of a healthy digestive system

A healthy digestive system is important for many specific reasons but at a basic level it helps you do 3 things; Extract, absorb & utilise more nutrients.

To learn more about a healthy digestive system watch the video below. Alternatively join our health coaching workshop

Mouth

Teeth tear and chew food into small pieces and pass them down the oesophagus to the stomach. In the mouth you also release saliva to help lubricate and break down the food.

Stomach

It sits just below the liver, empty it’s relatively small at 50 millilitres as you eat it can quickly stretch to 2-3 litres. It’s main function is to store and break down food ready for the small intestine. The food is delivered to the stomach from the esophageal sphincter; the stomach then begins to release enzymes that begin the chemical break down of the food. At the same time the muscles of the stomach begin the mechanical break down of food. The broken down food is the emptied in to the small intestine via the pylorus valve

Small Intestine

The average length of the small intestine is 6.9m and it’s main function is to complete the digestion of food. The first 100cm of the small intestine are adapted to absorb nutrients, after this fluid and electrolytes are absorbed. At the surface of small intestine your food is mixed with pancreatic enzymes, proteins are broken down to amino acid, carbohydrates to di/monosaccharides and fats to lipids. It is also exposed to the villi that absorb the food into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Amino acids and monosacarrides enter the portal vein and move onto the liver where they are further processed/detoxified Lipids pass into the intestinal lymphatics and thence via the thoracic duct to the general circulation bypassing the liver.

Large Intestine

From the small intestine chyme enters the ascending colon, it has been reduced to mostly indigestible substances. The bolus moves up past the right abdominal cavity to the livers lower border. It crosses horizontally below the liver and stomach by the way of the transverse colon. Descends the left abdominal cavity to the iliac fossa. The bolus then travels through the sigmoid colon to the lower midline of the abdominal cavity then to the rectum. You’ll find probiotic bacteria in your large intestine and keeping them in good health helps you absorb more water, some nutrients and prepare food for elimination. If waste builds up in the large intestine toxins can cause illness throughout the body and reduce absorption of other dietary nutrients.

To learn more about a healthy digestive system watch this video

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