Digestion is a complicated process occurring in the human digestive system, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the system.
Proper digestion can positively affect metabolism and support the maintenance of a healthy and nourished body. Thanks to this process, the system also does not lack the energy necessary for the course of many important life processes.
What is digestion?
Digestion is a complex process of enzymatic hydrolysis of macromolecular compounds, such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates into simpler, absorbable and assimilated by the body, molecules, e.g. amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids.
It involves breaking down ingested food through the digestive system with the help of substances known as digestive enzymes. It starts in the mouth and ends in the large intestine.
The course of the digestion process
Digestion begins in the mouth. As soon as you put a piece of food in your mouth, an enzyme called salivary amylase can start working. At the time of biting and crushing food, the enzyme can begin to pre-digest carbohydrates.
Subsequently, through the throat and esophagus, food goes to the stomach. Here, it is mixed with gastric juice, the key ingredient of which is hydrochloric acid. In the stomach after contact with an enzyme called pepsin, proteins can be partially digested. With help of gastric lipase, the digestion of fats can also begin.
Then the digested food goes to the small intestine, or rather to its upper section, i.e. the duodenum. Here, digestion with the help of pancreatic lipase may be non-emulsified fatty acids, which the stomach has not dealt with before.
Under the influence of trypsin, chymotrypsin and elastase in the small intestine, proteins can also be digested, which can be broken down into amino acids. With help of pancreatic amylase, carbohydrates can also be broken down into simpler molecules, i.e. simple sugars.
In the small intestine, when all the compounds are decomposed, they can be absorbed into the body, and actually into the blood and lymph.
Undigested and unabsorbed residues can be transported to the large intestine. Here intensive water absorption and thickening of fecal masses can occur. Subsequently, undigested residues can be excreted from the body along with feces.
Why is digestion so important?
During the proper functioning of the digestive system, nutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates can, with the help of digestive enzymes, be efficiently digested and easily absorbed by the body.
This is extremely important, because without proper digestion, the body would not have enough energy to function properly.
In addition, any digestive disorders can negatively affect health and contribute to the occurrence of undesirable ailments, and sometimes also to the development of serious diseases and diseases.
When the digestive system works properly, there are also no problems with digestion. However, sometimes digestive processes may be disturbed and thus symptoms such as:
- stomach pain,
- feeling of heaviness and retention in the stomach.
The causes of these ailments can be different, however, most often digestive problems can be caused by:
- hard to digest diet, rich in fatty meals,
- diseases of the digestive system,
- eating food too quickly,
- poor quality of food.
How to improve digestion?
Care for the digestive system can not only improve the comfort of life and well-being, but also positively affect the work of the whole body and human health.
So how to improve your digestion?
It is worth starting with a change in eating habits and daily diet. A good solution may be to limit the share of hard to digest products in the daily menu, e.g. fatty meats and highly processed foods. In addition, it is worth including in the diet a variety of spices, such as pepper, dill or cinnamon, which can support the body's digestive processes. It is also worth including silage and food products, such as pineapple or papaya, which contain compounds that can positively affect digestion.
You should also pay attention to eat meals regularly, at fixed times and without haste. It is also worth remembering to consume the right amount of fluids and the daily diet can also be enriched with herbal teas.
Not without significance can also be daily physical activity, which can not only accelerate metabolic processes, but also can reduce stress and support the digestive processes of the body.
In the case of undesirable ailments from the digestive system, it is also worth performing appropriate tests, because any dysfunctions may be caused by food intolerances.
A good solution may also be taking dietary supplements that can positively affect the digestive system and support its work, as well as have a beneficial effect on digestion.
Dietary supplements for digestion - are they worth using?
In the case of some digestive problems that are not associated with too serious ailments, dietary supplements that support digestion can be helpful and positively affect the well-being and comfort of life.
The digestive system may also be positively affected by probiotics, i.e. natural, live bacterial cultures that can improve digestion and regulate bowel function, as well as have a positive effect on the body's immunity.
To support bowel function, you can consider the use of supplements such as sodium butyrate or preparations rich in dietary fiber. Supplements supporting liver function, e.g. milk thistle, can also have a positive effect on digestion processes. Apple cider vinegar or licorice can also help.