The digestive system takes up the centre of the body, literally, physiologically and metaphorically. Better known as the fuel-factory of the human body, the system ensures that our body cells, tissues and organs keep getting necessary energy (ATP) and nutrients required for vital life processes.
The system produces enough fuel in the stomach to repair body’s wear and tear by:
- churning food
- extracting nutrients
- providing nutrition and energy to the body
- excreting wastes
Adequate diet and a regular exercise regime can be instrumental in sustaining digestive health. However, there are times when an infection or irritation in the digestive organs may disrupt smooth functioning and hence digestion. Yet, most of us tend to take our digestive system for granted – overburdening it, stuffing it beyond limits and then suffering bouts of stomach upsets. It goes without saying that a poor digestive system results in low energy levels as the body is not able to absorb proper nutrients from the food. Thus, the body, for appropriate functioning, requires a strong digestive system.
29th May is celebrated as World Digestive Health Day by the World Gastrointestinal Organisation.
If the food we eat is properly digested it means that we do not have any digestion related problems. However, there are few factors or foreign bodies that affect our digestive system leading to bad digestive health or a stomach upset. A bad, sluggish or hyperactive digestive system can create havoc in our lives to the extent of disrupting our daily routine – significantly affecting our overall well-being.
The digestive system is a complex system that includes significant organs viz. mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, colon, rectum and anus. A problem in any of these organs indicates trouble in the entire process of digestion. An infection, irritation, inflammation or irregular flow of digestive juices/ enzymes – all lead to bad digestion and hence problems in our digestive health.
Common ailments of the digestive system are:
- Belching (burping)
- Flatulence (gas)
- Indigestion and vomiting
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Heartburn (acidity)
- Stomach ulcers, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers
Tips for a healthy digestive system
- To begin with, gulp down a good amount of water in the morning (4 to 6 glasses). Besides making you look younger, it will ensure a clean and healthy digestive system. In case of constipation, drink two glasses of lukewarm water in the morning.
- Plenty of fibre-rich foods enhance the process of digestion. Add lot of fluids like soups and juices to your daily diet.
- Sedentary jobs or lack of mobility slows down the digestion process leading to belching, flatulence or indigestion. Take frequent, short walks after meals.
- Irregular dietary and sleeping habits may result into disturbances in the digestion process. Follow a regular routine.
- Make a conscious effort to detoxify and give some rest to your digestive system.
Diet for smooth functioning of digestive system
Adequate dietary supplements, adequate nutrition, fibre-rich foods and fluid intake ensure good health and easy digestion.
Following are some foods that ensure normal functioning of the digestive system –
- Golden (skinned) potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Cod liver oil
- Curds/ Yoghurt
- Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts should be a prominent part of our diet.