Why Prioritizing Digestive Health is Important

The Center for Digestive Medicine is regularly asked what the most important steps toward establishing a healthy gut health are. 

According to Dr. Victor Pina, there are a variety of factors that contribute towards robust gut health, "Healthy living starts at the diet, and this could not be truer than when considering gastrointestinal health. A high fiber diet can help ameliorate symptoms of inflammation, as well as help increase regularity for patients that suffer from constipation."

The gastrointestinal system also referred to as the gastrointestinal tract, digestive system, digestive tract, or gut, is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The gut serves many essential roles in sustaining and protecting the overall health and wellness of our bodies, starting with the intake and absorption of nutrients and water. According to Dr. Pina, it is the digestive process that provides the building blocks the body needs to stay healthy. 

Different Components of The Digestive Tract:

The Mouth. The digestive process begins with the mouth, where the teeth and tongue help us to chew our food and where chemicals in our saliva, called enzymes, start to break down the food. 

The Esophagus. The chewed food then enters the esophagus or food pipe, which uses its muscles to move the food from the mouth to the stomach through a coordinated process called peristalsis. The esophagus then releases the food into the stomach and a valve or sphincter acts as a gateway to keep the food from going back up into the esophagus. 

Stomach. In the stomach, food is sterilized and further broken down. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid, which helps to sterilize the food, so that it doesn't cause infections, or make people sick. The stomach's enzymes play a significant role in digesting proteins and other nutrients, while the organ's churning motion helps to turn the now mushed-up food into a liquid, called chyme. This process often takes hours, with heavy and fatty meals taking longer to digest than lighter meals. When the gut and brain have "talked" and decide the food is ready, the stomach moves the liquefied food into the small intestine. 

Small Intestine.  The small intestine is where the nutrients are absorbed and packaged to the rest of the body, to make the building blocks necessary to keep the human body alive and healthy. 

Pancreas, liver, gallbladder.  Along the way, the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and bile duct also play important roles in the digestive process. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine to help break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, while also producing the hormones insul9in and glucagon to help regulate our blood sugar. The liver produces a green liquid, called bile, which is secreted into the gallbladder, which when needed releases the bile into the small intestine to help break down dietary fats. 

​Colon and rectum. ​When the small intestine is finished absorbing nutrients from the liquefied food, the remaining digestive material is passed into the colon. The colon acts as the gut's "dryer," absorbing water and electrolytes as nourishment and passing any remaining solid waste to the rectum and out of the body. 

​About The Center for Digestive Medicine: 

Center for Digestive Medicine is a premier gastroenterology and hepatology (liver disease) practice serving the Miami-Dade, Florida area that comprises 3 physicians and 3 ARNP’s with a clinic and an Office based endoscopy center within the same location for your convenience. Our providers utilize the most advanced equipment, current techniques, and medications to treat all aspects of gastroenterology related diseases including but not limited to: colon cancer screening, treatment of disease of the liver and pancreas, management of GERD, inflammatory bowel syndromes such as Chron's and ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Source: The Center for Digestive Medicine


Categories: Healthcare, Gastroenterology/Intestinal Diseases, Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

Tags: anatomy, gastroenterology, gut health, preventative medicine

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