The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal tract also called the GI tract or digestive tract and the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. This digestion is divided into two types, the mechanical digestion of food that occurs in the mouth when it is physically broken up into smaller pieces and the chemical digestion that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract when the food is broken down into small molecules by digestive enzymes.
Digestion is important because your body needs nutrients from food and drink to work properly and stay healthy. Digestion is the breakdown of large insoluble food molecules into small water-soluble food molecules so that they can be absorbed into the watery blood plasma. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water are nutrients.
- Proteins break into amino acids
- Fats break into fatty acids and glycerol
- Carbohydrates break into simple sugars
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.
An unhealthy diet or lifestyle can cause regular digestive problems.Common digestive problems include:
- stomach discomfort
By following some easy tips the digestion can be improved and digestive problems can be cured.
- Eat More Fiber
It’s common knowledge that fibre is beneficial for good digestion. A high-fibre diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract, making you less likely to get constipated. A high fiber diet can also help you prevent or treat various digestive conditions, such as diverticulosis, haemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
You probably know the basics about fibre: it’s the part of plant foods that your body cannot digest, and there are two types — soluble fibre and Insoluble fibre. Both types of fibre are good for us.
Soluble fibre draws in water and can help prevent stools that are too watery. Good source of soluble fibre are – oats, barley, fruits, legumes (beans and peas).
Insoluble fibre acts like a giant toothbrush, helping your digestive tract keep everything moving along. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. Good source of insoluble fibre are – wheat bran, whole grain cereals and breads, and many vegetables.
- Get Your Body Moving
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your healthy body. Consistency is the key in maintaining a healthy digestion. Regular exercise helps keep foods moving through your digestive system, reducing constipation. Try taking short walks during the day and use the stairs instead of the elevator to stay active.
Staying active can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for your digestive health. Be physically active for at least 150 minutes per week doing moderate- to vigorous exercise some examples of aerobic exercise you may try like-walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Make it a point to work regular exercise into your weekly schedule.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Low fluid intake is a common cause of constipation. Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health. Fibre pulls water into the colon to create softer, bulkier stools, allowing them to pass through more easily. Experts recommend drinking 50–66 ounces (1.5–2 liters) of non-caffeinated fluids per day to prevent constipation. However, you may need more if you live in a warm climate or exercise strenuously.
Another way to help meet your fluid intake needs is to include fruits and vegetables that are high in water, such as cucumber, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, melons, strawberries, grapefruit and peaches.
- Chew your Food Properly
Digestion starts in your mouth. Your teeth break down the food into smaller pieces so that the enzymes in your digestive tract are better able to break it down. When you chew your food thoroughly, your stomach has to do less work to turn the solid food into the liquid mixture that enters your small intestine and ensures that you have plenty of saliva for digestion. This may help prevent symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn.
- Skip Bad Food Habits
While people react differently to different foods, some foods and drinks commonly cause problems with digestion. Also, fast foods and ready-made meals are high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats. They can be harder for the body to digest and cause problems such as constipation and gas. Liquor, cigarettes, and too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages can interfere with the functioning of your digestive system and lead to problems like stomach ulcers and heartburn.
To improve digestion, try to avoid these damaging habits. Bad habits such as: processed foods, too spicy food, fried food, acidic foods, such as vinegar and citrus fruits, sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine. These bad habits has also been associated with stomach ulcers, increased surgeries in people with ulcerative colitis and gastrointestinal cancers.
- Stress Managing
Stress can affect the digestive system. Many people experience an unsettled stomach before an exam or a big event, but sustained stress can affect the connection between the brain and the gut, causing ongoing problems.
When you experience stress, you might also be more likely to engage in other behaviours, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, eating unhealthy food, that can negatively affect blood pressure. Overcome from these unhealthy stress level behaviours you should do moderate exercise, yoga,10-minute meditation session, listen to soft music, work less, make time to relax and to do activities you enjoy which can help in maintaining your stress level normal.