The digestive system or gut is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum.
A person has 300-500 species of bacteria in their digestive tract, and many of them are essential to our body to keep it healthy. This group of microorganisms is referred to as the ‘microbiome.’
Your microbiome is so crucial to your overall health that it is now practically considered another organ inside your body. The number of good gut bacteria in your microbiome can dictate the aging process, digestion, immune system, protection against certain diseases, brain function, and even your mood. You must keep your digestive system in good working order.
A healthy diet is also important to help reduce the risk of developing certain long-term diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. It may also reduce the risk of developing certain conditions such as bowel cancer and Crohn’s disease which may result in the end of the bowel being diverted through an opening in the stomach known as a stoma. This operation is known as a colostomy. Feces exit the body through the stoma and gather in a bag. The stoma needs to be kept clean and irritation-free by applying an ostomy powder or paste. Keep your gut healthy by eating a diet high in fiber.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
These are live microorganisms isolated from humans and then cultured in a lab to be used as a supplement. When we ingest them (whether in food or supplement form), they survive in the gut and benefit us like the good bacteria we naturally have. Prebiotics and probiotics are microorganisms – probiotics being like the live bacteria we naturally have in our gut, and prebiotics being the food for these microorganisms to live on. Probiotics can be taken in synthetic supplement form or found in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. Prebiotics are found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, potatoes, and bananas.
Drinking plenty of water is essential to keep the mucosal lining of the intestines lubricated and promote the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Water cleanses the colon and helps remove toxins.
Food intolerance is when a person has difficulty digesting certain foods and experiences unpleasant symptoms after eating them, such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, skin rashes, and stomach pain. Common trigger foods include dairy products, gluten, caffeine, and salicylates.
Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products and is broken down in the body by an enzyme called lactase. A lack of this enzyme causes dairy intolerance.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. An adverse reaction to this protein causes celiac disease. The body’s immune system will attack bodily tissue when gluten is consumed, and as a result, the small intestine becomes damaged and cannot absorb nutrients.
Avoiding foods that trigger unpleasant side effects should be avoided to keep the digestive system in good working order.
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