Digestive System is a group of organs working together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients to feed the entire body. Food passes through a long tube inside the body known as the alimentary canal or the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). The alimentary canal is made up of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. In addition to the alimentary canal, there are several important accessory organs that help your body to digest food.
Food begins its journey through the digestive system in the mouth, also known as the oral cavity. Inside the mouth are many accessory organs that aid in the digestion of food—the tongue, teeth, and salivary glands. Teeth chop food into small pieces, which are moistened by saliva before the tongue and other muscles push the food into the pharynx.
Each part of your digestive system helps to move food and liquid through your GI tract, break food and liquid into smaller parts, or both. Once foods are broken into small enough parts, your body can absorb and move the nutrients to where they are needed. Your large intestine absorbs water, and the waste products of digestion become stool.
How to Improve and Maintaining Your Digestive Health
Eat a high-fiber diet: Consuming a diet that’s high in fiber and rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can improve your digestive health. A high-fiber diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract, making you less likely to get constipated. High-fiber diet can also help you prevent or treat various digestive conditions, such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Get both insoluble and soluble fiber: It’s important to consume both types of fiber, since they help your digestive system in different ways. Insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, can’t be digested by the body and therefore helps add bulk to the stools. Soluble fiber draws in water and can help prevent stools that are too watery. Good sources of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains; get soluble fiber from oat bran, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Limit foods that are high in fat: Fatty foods tend to slow down the digestive process, making you more prone to constipation. It’s important to get some fat in your diet, So pairing fatty foods with high-fiber foods can make them easier on your digestive system.
Choose lean meats: Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, but fatty cuts of meat can lead to uncomfortable digestion. When you eat meat, select lean cuts, such as skinless poultry.
Incorporate probiotics into your diet: Probiotics are the same kind of healthy bacteria naturally present in your digestive tract. They help keep the body healthy by combating the effects of a poor diet, antibiotics, and stress. In addition, probiotics can enhance nutrient absorption, may help break down lactose, strengthen your immune system, and possibly even help treat IBS. Eat good sources of probiotics, such as low-fat yogurt or kefir, on a daily basis.
Eat on schedule: Consuming your meals and snacks on a regular schedule can help keep your digestive system in top shape. Aim to sit down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks around the same time each day.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health. Fiber pulls water into the colon to create softer, bulkier stools, allowing them to pass through more easily.
Skip the bad habits: smoking, excessive caffeine, and alcohol. Liquor, coffee, and cigarettes can interfere with the functioning of your digestive system, and lead to problems like stomach ulcers and heartburn.
Exercise regularly: Regular exercise helps keep foods moving through your digestive system, reducing constipation. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for your digestive health.
Manage stress: Too much stress or anxiety can cause your digestive system to go into overdrive. Find stress-reducing activities that you enjoy and practice them on a regular basis.
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