When our digestive systems are in peak form, we tend to take digestive health for granted – digestion is just something the body does; every day, several times a day. However, when that healthy balance inevitably tips and we find ourselves battling with digestive issues, we become acutely aware of discomfort and difficulties.
The ins and outs of our digestive systems:
Our digestive system comprises the following and in this sequence: mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (including the rectum) and the anus. Each section of the digestive system has its part to play in breaking down the food we eat into more ‘digestible’ parts, absorb what is needed and then to excrete the rest. (1-3) Also present in the digestive tract are various strains of friendly bacteria, often referred to as ‘gut flora’, which play a role in metabolism (digestion), protection against infections and regulating the immune system. (1,4)
The digestive system is important for breaking down the food and drink we consume in to nutrients, which the body can use for energy, growth and cell repair. The food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules that can be absorbed by the blood and carried throughout the whole body. These nutrients are broken down by digestive enzymes into carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins. (1,3)
Digestive Enzyme Formula [LINK TO DIGESTIVE ENZYME FORMULA]
This multi-enzyme complex includes a range of foodstate vitamins that can help restore and maintain the digestive system with the aim of enabling the body to get optimal benefit from the food we eat.
Here are six ways that can help you maintain digestive health:
- Keep the balance– Balance and moderation is key for each meal. Choose smaller portions of high fat and sugary eats and treats, and larger portions of fruit, vegetables and whole-grains. Keep the balance throughout the day – if you had a large indulgent lunch, then have a small fresh supper.
- Start out well– It is easier to resist over-indulging on rich party foods and it is kinder on the digestive system if you have a fresh, healthy snack or meal before you go out, especially if you may be drinking more alcohol than normal.
- Keep it fresh– If you keep your focus on plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, you will find that it is easy to add lots of healthy foods to your holiday meals. Make sure there are plenty of leafy salads at the braai and crunchy crudités at the sundowner picnics.
- Stay active– It can be so easy to abandon your exercise routine over the holidays and lie in for those extra hours after a night on the town. But staying physically active is vital for overall health and can help your body to withstand the strains of the silly season. If you can’t stick to your usual exercise regime, then at least compensate with brisk walks or riding bicycles with the kids.
- Water it down– Keep very well hydrated by drinking lots of clean water. A sensible practice at social events is to drink a large glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Remember, more than one glass of wine is already too much.
References: 1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The Digestive System & How it Works. [online] 2013 Sep [cited 2017 Oct 20]. Available from: URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works. 2. Cleveland Clinic: Health Library. Digestive System Function & Organs. [online] [cited 2017 Oct 20]. Available from: URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/the-structure-and-function-of-the-digestive-system. 3. Medical Dictionary. Digestive enzymes. [online] [cited 2017 Oct 20]. Available from: URL: https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/digestive+enzymes. 4. Kligler B, Hanaway P, Cohrssen A. Probiotics in children. Pediatr Clin N Am 2007;54:949-967.