Digestive Health:
Keeping Things Running Smoothly

Information, Tips & Suggestions for a Well-Functioning Digestive System

Digestive health is a critical—yet often overlooked—area of health. It's the difference between a happy tummy and occasional gas or bloating. By paying attention to your body and making a few healthy changes, you can help keep things running smoothly.

Digestion Overview

Digestion starts immediately, when saliva begins to break down food. The digestion of proteins continues in the stomach where food resides anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. Hydrochloric acid produced by glands in the stomach, along with specific protein enzymes, further break down food; then pass the partially digested food mass to the top portion of the small intestines. Bile from the liver and pancreatic enzymes from the pancreas continues the digestive process with fats and carbohydrates. Nutrients are extracted and absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood stream, and the nutrient-deficient food mass is passed to the large intestine as waste.

Boost Your Digestive Health

No one enjoys an upset stomach, or even minor discomfort. So what can you do to optimize your digestion? Here are a few tips:

  • Drink plenty of water—before or after your meal. Drinking water during a meal can slow down digestion
  • Take a probiotic supplement—like acidophilus to keep the intestinal tract in peak health. Probiotics also assist enzymes with final assimilation of food.
  • Get adequate fiber—to help move food through the digestive process. Aim for 25 grams if you're a woman and 38 grams if you're a man.
  • Get plenty of exercise—to speed up digestion, increase blood flow to all your organs, and stimulate muscles in the GI tract, helping to keep things working efficiently.
  • Boost your intake of fruits & veggies—and avoid red meat. Fruits & vegetables contain enzymes that help digest them, and red meat tends to be fatty and hard to digest.

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