Most of us don’t think much about the digestive system unless we are hungry or have a digestive issue. If you suffer from digestive woes, you might be interested in knowing why digestion is so important for our overall health and what it is responsible for. Might seem obvious but I promise you, it’s not.
Digestion is so much more than simply providing a means to end hunger. The food we consume provides nutrients to our cells so the body is well equipped to perform all the tasks that sustain us each and every day.
But that’s only the beginning of the story. There are so many really cool things about the digestive system that anyone suffering should really know about if they want to heal.
Did you know that digestion actually begins in the brain?
When you smell that movie theater popcorn or you see a huge billboard with a juicy cheeseburger and crispy fries, that’s when we start to salivate, and our digestive system revs up. In fact, just thinking about food can get the digestive system going!
Just a cool fact most of us weren’t taught in school.
So, why is digestion such a big deal when it comes to our overall health?
The digestive system is responsible for:
- It serves as a transportation highway for ingested food to move through the entire digestive system. There are stops along the way that I will be discussing soon. Be on the lookout, it’s actually pretty fascinating.
- It chemically and mechanically breaks down food
- It extracts and absorbs nutrients
- It is home to roughly 70% of our immune system and provides a huge immune barrier for antigens coming into the body
- Helps remove waste from the body
- It activates hormones
- Communicates with the central nervous system – our guts are literally connected to the brain!
- It helps maintain balance in our microbiome
That’s a lot of work and coordination!
As you can see, our digestive systems are incredibly important. And I am just scratching the surface.
If anything along the pathway is not functioning properly, that’s when we begin to experience unpleasant symptoms.
Symptoms are the body’s way of communicating with us. Ignoring those messages is risky and can not only cause us to feel bad but could lead to bigger problems down the road.
There are a whole host of symptoms associated with dysfunction in the digestive system. Just to name a few (but there are many others):
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Skin issues like hives, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis
- Headaches or migraines
- Food sensitivities
- Bloating and gas
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are almost certainly dealing with digestive dysfunction. We can help. Reach out and schedule an appointment with us so we can help prevent further issues and we can help you get back to feeling great again.