Digestion is at the core of your being and great digestive health is essential for well-being.
Digestion goes beyond your stomach and extends right through your body from your mouth to elimination point.
Your Gut is your gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and has two main functions:
breakdown and absorb the nutrients your body requires to function by working in conjunction with the digestive organs - the stomach, pancreas, liver and gall bladder, and
provides a protective barrier with the outside world working as an integral part of your immune system
The Six Parts of Your GUT and Digestion
Eating clean and green to support our digestive processes is essential for good health and well-being and is an important factor for digestive health.
Digestive processes begin before food even crosses our lips. The smell and sight of food is enough to kick our central nervous system into action and the stimulation to release digestive enzymes in preparation to breakdown food. This vital step is often missed in our busy modern day lifestyles - eating on the run, at the office desk, in front of TV, computers, distracted from the connection we should have with our essential life-sustaining nourishment. Digestion requires chewing of food and the release of enzymes to break down food.
Bacteria - The Microbiome
As on our skin our GIT also has a layer of living microorganisms known as the gut microbiome outnumbering our own cells 10:1. This is an area of current intense research that has thus far determined that we each carry our own unique microbiota that we have inherited from birth, that diversity within the microbiome is essential, the microbiome is influenced by what we eat and the health of the microbiome affects our own health dramatically.
Your gut forms a barrier between the external world and your internal environment. The total surface area of the GIT is 100m2. The cellular layer of the barrier both protects and defends us from invading pathogens, viruses and bacterias, as well as being permeable to the nutrients our body needs. It is a complex system that in modern day is overburdened with foreign substances and chemicals that it must deal with. Just as your external skin may become inflamed when damaged so can your GIT resulting in inflammation and ulcerations.
Your immune system lies within the blood supply to your GIT and these immune cells are on constant alert for the presence of invading pathogens. The GIT is in fact considered the largest immune organ and is the area of which the greatest contact with the environment occurs.
The Digestive Nervous System
Nerve tissue directly interacts with gut function and directly influences our intestinal motility, the movement of food along the GIT, and the digestive secretions of the GIT. The direct link of the central nervous system with the digestive system demonstrates the strong association and impact that mental and emotional states have on digestive health and vice versa. Sayings such as ‘butterflies’ or ‘feeling sick to the stomach' in a nerve-wracking situation we may be in are understood better when we can see the direct association of the nervous system with the Gut.
When any of these levels of digestion become compromised systemic imbalance will result. The imbalance may be experienced as localised pain or digestive discomfort with bloating. After a period of time without treating the cause and correcting the dysfunction whether it be an overload of toxins and an under-functioning liver, or decreased digestive enzymes, disease will result with inflammatory processes set into play and disrupting the immune system. This may lead to establishing the environment for autoimmune conditions and immune sensitivities further experienced as low energy or chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, food intolerances, or behavioural and mental health issues.
Your body can heal and is constantly striving to be well.
Simple steps can be taken to ensure digestion has a fighting chance to function as it should.
Be mindful and present when eating. Slow Down and Chew.
Reduce exposure to toxins and eat clean healthy fresh foods.
Manage your stress.
If digestive symptoms you are experiencing don’t subside then support can be provided with identifying the area of dysfunction with a naturopathic consult and introducing a digestive program to achieve wellness.
Check out more on Digestive Health on N&B Blog article 'Your Gut - The Center of Your Universe'
Contact Renae at N&B now to make an appointment.