Imagine that your body is a finely tuned machine and runs smoothly day in and day out. Every food and beverage consumed is in perfect harmony with how your internal system works, yet there can be disruptions and challenges when the main digestive tract rebels with how it’s treated. Because each individual has a unique bodily blueprint since birth, it’s imperative to manage the digestive system with the utmost care and regard to essential health.
The foods you eat take an incredible journey through your body--from top to bottom--and along the way, the beneficial parts of those foods are absorbed, providing energy and nutrients. In order to understand this further, what main organs make up the digestive system from the moment you take your first bite of food?
How Your Digestive System Works
1. The mouth
This is the beginning of the digestive tract. As a matter of fact, digestion begins the moment your salivary glands get active as you smell and see that plate of food before you.
2. The esophagus
Located at the back of your throat near your trachea--or windpipe--the esophagus receives the food from the mouth when you swallow. A series of muscular contractions within the esophagus delivers the food to your stomach.
3. The stomach
A hollow organ that holds the food while being mixed with stomach enzymes, continuing the process of breaking down food into a usable form. They are then released into the small intestine.
4. The small intestine
A 22-foot long muscular tube that breaks down food using enzymes released by the pancreas and bile from the liver. The contents of the small intestine start out semi-solid, and end in a liquid form after passing through the organ.
5. The pancreas
Secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine that break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The pancreas also makes insulin, which is the main hormone in your body that metabolizes sugar.
6. The liver
Its main function with the digestive system is to process the nutrients absorbed from the small intestine. The liver is considered the ‘chemical factory,’ as it takes the raw materials absorbed by the intestine and creates all the various chemicals that body needs to function properly.
7. The gallbladder
The organ where the concentration and storage of bile from the liver is released into the small intestine to aid in absorbing and digesting fats. The gallbladder is the vessel that holds what the liver breaks down.
8. The colon
Also referred to as the ‘large intestine,’ the colon is responsible for processing waste so that emptying the bowels is easy and convenient. It’s a 6-foot long muscular tube that connects the small intestine to the rectum, and it normally takes about 36 hours for leftovers from the digestive process to get through the colon.
9. The rectum
Its main function is to receive waste from the colon, give you the signal that it’s ready to be released or evacuated, and to hold the waste until evacuation happens. The rectum is a straight, 8-inch chamber that connects the colon to the anus.
10. The anus
The final part of the digestive tract, the anus is surrounded by sphincter muscles that are important in allowing control of eliminating waste from your body. It is a 2-inch long canal that lets you know whether the rectal contents are liquid, gas, or solid prior to elimination.
Solutions for a healthy gut
Whereas foods and beverages tend to be the go-to for curing any possible complications within gut health, there are other alternatives that promote positive function within your digestion process. For example, adding probiotics to your daily fare can maximize a positive gut response and minimize poor gut health. The majority of your immune system resides in the gut.
The complexity of your gut microbiome--a microscopic ecosystem residing in the digestive tract--has the ability to affect and influence body weight, mood, dental health, and skin conditions when balanced in a healthy manner. To nurture your gut flora within the microbiome requires seeking probiotic-powered foods and supplements that work together to promote digestive health. Different strains of probiotics produce different health benefits, so variety is key.
One such supplement to try is HealthImpaq’s Ultra ProBiotic 40 Billion Cultures, which helps to keep the survival of probiotic cultures alive and well in your body. Besides boosting your digestive system, strengthening your body’s defense, and replenishing healthy bacteria, this probiotic supplement has MAKTREK technology that feeds your gut flora and wards off unwanted toxins in the body.
What essential foods are good for your gut?
To have a proper liver function, bowel movement, and avoid ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, these essential foods can contribute positively to your gut health:
- Olive oil
- Brussel Sprouts
- Roquefort Cheese
Each of the above--when eaten frequently--have the capacity to aid in improving your digestive health.
How long does it take for foods and calories to be digested?
Throughout the 10 stages of the digestive process, it’s safe to say that digestion occurs immediately. Some carbohydrates will be absorbed in the mouth as the food is chewed and broken down by enzymes, wherein the enzymes in the stomach further break down the food before most of the absorption takes place in the small intestine. It normally takes six to eight hours for food to pass through your stomach and small intestine and enter the large intestine, where it becomes fully digested.
From there and onward, it takes 40 hours for the waste to actually be excreted, however the exact time for complete digestion depends on which nutrients the food contains and the quantity of the meal. Plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables usually move through the digestive tract more quickly than higher protein or fatty-based foods.
Having a healthy gut isn’t as complicated as it may sound. The key is to understand how your body works, what foods are most beneficial in keeping your engines running smoothly, and which our probiotic supplement is the best source of probiotics that contributes to a healthy gut flora in order for the digestive process to be free of obstacles. It’s up to you to take care of your gut, recognize the capacity it has in your body’s function, and go from there.
Energy output and lifelong health truly depends on a positively harmonious digestive system