Digestion, probably not the first thing that comes to mind when at the dinner table, but digestion is greatly effected by what and how we eat!
Digestion defined – the process of breaking down food by mechanical and enzymatic action. So mechanical meaning, chewing and all the churning our stomachs do! Enzymatic referring to all the natural enzymes in the body that help break down our foods.
*Here are just a few fun facts about the amazing process that is digestion.
- A north to south process, it all begins in the brain! We see and smell our food first, stimulating our stomach and the process heads south from there.
- Our mood affects our digestion, this process functions best when we are calm, happy, sitting and ready to eat. Stress, eating on the run and other distractions can slow down and alter the process.
- Our teeth are the fist part of mechanical breakdown. Did you know it is best to chew your food up 28 times each bite! A great tip to help with is to put your fork down between bites. Slow eating enhances digestion and the enjoyment of the meal!
- Our saliva is the first part of the enzymatic breakdown, containing an enzyme called amylase to aid in digesting carbohydrates!
- In the stomach our food is further broken down and stomach acid is the main player here! Breaking down what your teeth couldn’t. While it may sound strange, having adequate stomach acid is key, and acid reduction may upset your digestion.
- Once in the stomach a meal can take 2-3 hours to completely breakdown.
- From the stomach our food moves to the small intestine, this is where all the absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat takes place!
- Our liver and pancreas are part of the process too! The liver produces bile, stored in our gallbladder and it is released to breakdown fats. Our pancreas helps with the enzymatic process by secreting enzymes needed to further breakdown protein, carbohydrates, and fats. As well as, sodium bicarbonate to reduce the acidic contents from the stomach. All this happens in the small intestine to better support nutrient absorption!
- From the small intestine digestion continues to the large intestine, where undigested food particles, and fibrous materials are formed into waste.
- Fun fact, the average large intestine is 5 feet long!
* For more reference see – 10 Interesting Facts About Your Digestive System
The important thing to remember when it comes to digestion, is that this process is how our bodies receive nutrients. Turing our food into fuel! When digestion is off we can not fully benefit from the foods we eat. What and how we eat is essential to proper digestion!
MORE FUN FACTS!
*Please remember this page is purely informational, if you have any current dietary restrictions please remember to follow all protocols in place by your physician.