Updated: May 14
It’s no secret that a healthy digestive system is essential to overall wellness. The gastrointestinal tract is our body’s primary tool for absorbing nutrients. It also plays a significant role in our immune system. Therefore, a healthy digestive tract is fundamental to our health — having one that isn’t working properly can lead to many health problems. Luckily, you can take a few simple steps to ensure that your digestive system stays happy and healthy.
Did you know that digestive disorders are the most common cause of hospital admissions in the U.S.? If you’re suffering from any form of digestive disorder or disease, whether it’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, or Leaky Gut Syndrome, then question every stomach ache, diarrhea, or constipation because they may not be nuisances — they can also be symptoms of serious digestive issues. But don’t worry, these common digestive problems can be treated with simple lifestyle changes. These 5 simple tips are for you. These tips are an excellent starting point to begin your journey to better health.
The Importance of a Healthy Digestive System
Digestion is essential for breaking down food into nutrients that the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair. Food and water are converted into smaller molecules of nutrients before they are absorbed by the blood and transferred to the body's cells. The body breaks down nutrients from food and alcohol into carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins.
Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fibre present in various foods. Carbohydrates are classified into basic or complex based on their chemical composition. Simple carbohydrates include sugars in foods such as fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products, and sugars introduced during food production. Complex carbohydrates are starches and fibre present in whole-grain bread and cereals, starchy vegetables, and legumes. The Dietary Recommendations for Americans, 2010, suggest that 45 to 65 percent of the required daily calories come from carbohydrates.
Protein. Foods such as beef, eggs, and beans consist of large protein molecules that the body digests into smaller molecules called amino acids. The body absorbs the amino acids into the blood from the small intestine, bringing them across the body. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 advises that 10% to 35% of the overall daily calories come from protein.
Fats. Fat molecules are a rich source of nutrition for the body and allow the body to digest vitamins. Examples of good fats include oils such as olive, safflower, sesame, sunflower, etc. Butter, shortening, and snack foods are examples of less nutritious fat. The body breaks down fat molecules into fatty acids and glycerol through digestion. The 2010 Dietary Recommendations for Americans prescribe that 20 to 35 percent of the total daily calories should come from fat.