When you initially eat food the food is not in a usable form for your body. Your body needs to process this food so that it can extract all the life giving nutrients from all that you have just eaten.
Your food must be converted into small enough molecules so that it can be carried throughout your body in your blood stream bringing nutrients to all of your body’s cells. For this to happen your body needs to digest the food that you eat.
Makes sense right?
Digestion is the process of mixing food with digestive juices as the food moves down your digestive tract. It starts in your mouth with your saliva as you chew your food and begin the process of breaking down larger pieces of food with smaller ones.
So, digestion starts the moment you begin to chew your food and ends in your lower small intestines mostly exhausted and ready for elimination.
The Process of Digestion
Your digestive tract contains a wall inside of it that actually moves. It’s a large hollow like muscle that allows this movement to happen. This moving process helps pass your food along where the nutrients can be absorbed into your body through the walls of your digestive tract. Different foods are also digested in different areas of your digestive system.
This movement is called Peristalsis, as if you really wanted to know, but you can relate to this movement by envisioning a wave moving towards the beach with their back and forth movements.
Okay, after you’ve swallowed your food it’s pushed into the esophagus first. The stomach meets the esophagus at its base with a ring like muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter.
The sphincters job is to keep the esophagus and the stomach closed off from each other. When this sphincter muscle is approached with food it relaxes to let the food pass into the stomach and closes back up again.
That’s how it works in a healthy digestive tract.
Now your stomach has three important tasks to perform with this new arrival of food. The upper part of your stomach relaxes and stores the food and liquid you just ate. Task number two is to mix all the food and liquid together which is performed by the stomach using muscle action where it then moves on to task number three where this mixture is emptied into your lower intestine.
All foods do not move into your lower intestine at the same time. Some foods like proteins take longer to be mixed up and broken down by the stomach. Carbohydrates will be processed quickly and fats normally take the longest amount of time to digest.
Next, foods in your intestines are mixed with juices from your pancreas and liver then this mixture gets absorbed by your intestines and nutrients are carried through your bloodstream and your entire body.
Why is this Digestive Process so Important to Know?
This digestion process is very important because your body needs food to be turned into small enough particles before it can be used to feed your body. This is the only way to get these tiny particles small enough so that they can then be used effectively by your cells.
Your cells do an amazing job for you. Cells help to make your skin, bones, muscles and organs. Everything from the hair on your head to your toenails you can view cells as tiny building blocks for your body.
Nutrients from your food help to feed and repair cells and to build new ones. Once your body is nourished by your newly born and fed cells you’ll appreciate more energy and feel stronger, healthier and revitalized.
Problems of Improper Digestion
Problems begin to spring up when your body doesn’t handle the digestive process in the right way and nutrients are not properly or completely absorbed. It’s called mal-absorption. If poor digestion occurs you might experience one or more of the following signs:
This can be weight loss or weight gain, constipation or diarrhea, gas pain or heartburn, bloating or nausea.
That covers a lot of are doesn’t it?
When these symptoms occur on a regular basis it will be a sign that something else maybe wrong. So if you suddenly start experiencing any of these symptoms it may be and issue with your digestive system and you should immediately make plans to rectify the problem.
If this is you, do you think that it could have something to do with you not having a healthy nutrition plan? Yes, that’s a good possibility isn’t it.
In the next segment of this guide we’ll discuss “The Benefits of Combining the Right Foods”. Here you’ll get the basics of combining foods to help create your healthy nutrition plan.