When it comes to your diet, there are some facts about digestive health you will want to consider before you take your next bite. While eating is a pleasure and a privilege for most of us, it is also a way to nourish our bodies. And to nourish our bodies, we need to serve them by allowing them the best digestion possible. In learning many facts about digestive health, I learned just how powerful an effect our digestive systems have on our sense of well being. I’d like to share some of these facts with you, so your food can give you the energy, vitality, and nourishment your body truly desires.
1. 30 Feet Long
One of the most interesting facts about digestive health is just how large our digestive system really is. Did you know your digestive system is 30 feet long from beginning to end? Starting with the mouth, then the esophagus, the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and finally, the anus. With all those twists, turns, and pathways your system includes, it’s best to eat in a way that makes the process as easy on your body as possible. This allows you to feel better, gives you more energy, and allows the nutrients you eat to be better absorbed.
2. It Likes Simplicity
Most of us like a lot of flavor in our meals. I know I sure do! Yet with a lot of flavor and texture, it's likely there are also more ingredients. This isn’t always a bad thing, however the simpler your meal, the easier it will be to digest. A good rule of thumb is to make your starches from vegetables for easier digestion, your fats from plant fats, and your protein from a lean source, instead of a fatty source. Greens also help digest your food since they contain natural bitter properties. Adding in too many ingredients to your meals can often result in indigestion, gas, and bloating. Think simplicity, and your system will thank you!
3. Nutrient Absorption
Another important thing women need to know about digestion is that all the nutrients of the digestive system are absorbed into the small intestine. Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients, and most of this takes place within the small intestine, after food leaves the stomach.
4. 12-24 Hours
Usually, food takes approximately 12-24 hours to be digested completely from start to finish. This can be altered by things like how difficult your food is to digest, or if you have a condition like IBS that slows down or speeds up gastric emptying.
Did you know that your digestive system is responsible for producing the happy hormone, serotonin? Serotonin is your “happy hormone,” and if your body isn’t getting the proper nutrition it needs or you have digestive issues, it can interrupt how much serotonin is produced in your body. It’s important to know that everything in your body affects this process. Choosing clean, simple to digest food that contains an array of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients like carbs, protein, and fat, is the best way to ensure serotonin is produced as efficiently as possible.
Another important thing to know is 80% of your immune system is located inside your digestive system. This means that whatever’s in your tummy will affect your overall health. Your gut is known as the second brain, and it should be top priority in keeping your mind and body healthy. To keep your immune system running at peak level, be sure to take probiotics to nourish those good bugs in your belly, which are responsible for helping keep your immunity high.
7. Stress Affects Everything
Another thing women should be mindful of is how much stress is not only in their life, but also how it affects their digestion. You need to monitor your stress as best as possible, or food isn’t digested properly, nutrients aren’t absorbed, and issues like IBS can arise.
Digestion is an important part of our health, and goes far beyond what you eat alone. Do you have anything to add about digestive health that you’ve learned recently?