THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
The Chinese have a saying that all illness begins in the stomach. An oversimplification for sure, but our 9-metre long digestive system is indisputably a critical component for overall health.
It is responsible for taking in our food, breaking down our food and absorbing essential nutrients. A well functioning digestive system should also be expertly eliminating waste from our bodies.
Indigestion, hernias, acid reflux, gas, bloating, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation are just some common examples of digestive disorders which indicate that one’s digestive system isn’t functioning well.
Needless to say, a digestive system that cannot fulfil its purposes of breaking down, absorption and elimination leads in turn to a host of other health problems.
Breaking Down Our Food
The cooked and processed food diet of today is severely deficient in the digestive enzymes that are needed for the proper breaking down and absorption of nutrients. However, most of us are unable to sustain a diet of raw, organic foods that are rich in digestive enzymes due to high cost, limited availability and even palatability.
In recognition of this deficiency, your body tries to compensate by packing your saliva with more amylase, releasing more stomach acid and putting your pancreas into overdrive mode to produce the remainder of the much-needed digestive enzymes, but it is still not enough. Over time, the overworked pancreas can no longer keep up and is likely to fail. All this leads to massive inefficiencies in the extraction of nutrients from your food.
In addition, a large part of our diet is made up of refined carbohydrates such as white rice and bread, which are lacking in dietary fibre compared to their whole grain counterparts.
As fibre helps to add bulk to stools and regulate your bowel movements, not getting enough of it may lead you to experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as gas, bloating and constipation, and even develop more serious illnesses, such as haemorrhoids and colon cancer.
Serving as Hostground for Beneficial Bacteria
Aside from the aforementioned digestion functions, the digestive system serves as hospitable ground for trillions of beneficial bacteria that help with these functions and more importantly, promote a strong immune system. There is also growing evidence to support that probiotics, or such beneficial bacteria, are effective at treating or preventing certain illnesses.
Supplementing with the right dietary supplements will improve and maintain a well functioning digestive system, giving yourself the best chance of combating diseases and achieving optimum overall health.