Let’s talk about digestion…
It’s simple right, food in, food broken down, stool out? Well yes, that is what happens but just like saying how does a car work, fuel in, turnkey, car goes. It’s a little more complex than that, and the more you familiarise yourself with how it works, what is needed, and what it feels like when running at its best, this enables you to take notice and take charge when things are disordered.
First of all, what is “The Gut”? The gut can also be referred to as the digestive tract, intestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract and the GI system. It basically includes all things relating to extracting and absorbing nutrients and water from food to sustain us, from the mouth all the way through to the anus.
Digestion begins even before food hits the mouth. It starts with our thoughts, as we think about and prepare food our salivary glands start to produce amylase, a digestive enzyme and water to start breaking down the carbohydrates when they enter the mouth.
Food then enters the mouth where it is chewed (start of being broken down) then swallowed and enters the oesophagus where contraction of muscles (peristalsis) begins moving food through every section of the digestive tract.
Once the food hits the stomach and small intestines it has about 6-8 hours to extract as much nutrients from it as it can. This is done by churning the food, like kneading dough and mixing it with digestive enzymes and water to further breakdown and extract nutrients by the mechanical and chemical digestion.
The food then passes into the small intestines, which once again is breaking down and extracting nutrients further by the means of more digestive enzymes being donated by the pancreas. More on digestive enzymes later, these little guys are essential to good gut health and often overlooked.
By this stage the food is broken down so small that the body can absorb and use them. The small parts pass through the walls of the intestines, into the bloodstream, go through the liver to be processed and then are used by the rest of the body.
I want you to know the basic mechanics, as when you understand what is going on in each area you are able to identify possible things that are out of order.
Understand: there are different mechanisms going on in different parts of the digestive system, depending on where the deficiency, imbalance or damage is done will determine what symptoms you have and what you need to do to fix it.
Love Alissa ❤
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