Why is the digestive system important? That is a question you have probably never asked yourself. In fact, unless you are experiencing difficulty, you probably never even think about it. You eat, your body digests it, and you go about your day.

However, if you are having problems or suffer from a debilitating gastrointestinal disorder, thought of your digestive system can become all-consuming. Even minor issues, such as constipation, can feel as if your guts are being ripped out. Additionally, you may have problems that you do not even realize stem from the digestive process. Maybe you have muscle weakness or bone density loss. How in the world could that possibly be related?

Some of you fall into the first category I mentioned. You have never had any digestive issues, save some bloating or gas. Your body is running well, and your friends often remark that they hate you because you never have any health problems despite your unhealthy diet. Yeah, you’re going to want to start paying attention to your body.

Your digestive system is like a car engine; it makes it possible for your body to run. However, if you do not properly care for it, your body isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes, even when you do properly care for it, it doesn’t go anywhere, but that’s a topic for another day. This time we are going to focus on what you can do and exactly why is the digestive system important.

Why Is the Digestive System Important?

It is incredibly important that you take proper care of your digestive system because it is the vehicle that makes all of your other bodily functions possible. Your digestive system is made up of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is made up of even more organs, including the mouth, esophagus, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and anus.

Every time you eat or drink something, this digestive system gets busy. It begins pushing the food you ate through your GI tract and breaking it down into nutrients. These include amino acids from the protein you’ve eaten. Amino acids make up a large part of our cells, muscle, and tissues.

Vitamins are also absorbed from your food during the digestive process. They are absorbed through the small intestine and then into your bloodstream. For instance, vitamin A, which is vital for vision and immune health. Vitamin C is also absorbed, and it helps form connective tissue, including skin, bones, and blood vessels. Basically, every vitamin that your body needs to function properly is absorbed during this process.

So, when you ask yourself why is the digestive system important? Those are reasons why. Without your digestive system, nothing else works. Nothing. Your tissue would break down. The blood vessels in your would fail. Your vision would become blurry, and your hair and nails would stop growing. It is the engine, and your body is the car. If the engine falls out, your car isn’t going anywhere.

Luckily, there are things that you can do to make sure that your engine is running smoothly. One of those things is eating healthy. I know, you’ve heard this song before, but, this time, you really need to pay attention to the lyrics.

Why eating healthy is important

eating healthy, fresh veggies, asparagus tomatoes and lean meat

Image CC by 0, by RitaE, via Pixabay

So, you have a car. Your car needs an oil change. You decide that you are going to change the oil yourself. I don’t blame you; oil changes can be expensive. You go to the auto parts store, ask one of the employees what products you need, and he hands you a bottle of used oil that someone sent to the store to be disposed of. You are absolutely horrified, right? You’re not going to put that thick, black, dirty oil into your car! Your baby would never run right after that.

That’s what it is like when you fill your body with empty calories from unhealthy food.

Just like your car needs good oil to run, your body needs good food to function. If you are eating poorly, your body will not get enough vitamins. When your body does not get enough vitamins, all kinds of bad things start happening. For instance, a vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to terrible problems within your nervous system. A lack of vitamin C in your diet can cause bleeding gums, leaky gut, and painful joints, to name a few. Vitamin E deficiencies can cause muscle and nerve damage. If your digestive system is not absorbing enough vitamin D, you can suffer a loss of bone density. I could keep going, but you get the picture.

When you are ignoring the nutritional value of the food you are putting in your body, it is just like putting that disgusting oil the auto tech gave you into your car. Your car will die much sooner than it is meant to if you put dirty oil in it. You will die much sooner than you are supposed to if you put terrible food in it.

Foods good for digestion

In addition to eating healthy foods, you can also eat food that helps digestion. For instance, foods high in fiber. While fiber doesn’t get digested by the digestive enzymes, it does make everything run smoother. Fiber absorbs water in the intestines, which helps bowel movements and works with probiotics in the gut. The following foods are the best for gut health:

Beans: Lentils, black beans, red beans, garbanzos, etc. are all high in fiber and low in fat. They also make you feel full, so you won’t be tempted to eat junk food after your meal.

Dark leafy greens: Spinach, kale, collard greens, etc. are nutritional powerhouses. They are high in fiber and high in vitamins.

Yogurt: Make sure you buy yogurt with probiotics in order to promote gut health. Activia drinkables by Dannon are fantastic.

Bananas: If you are having issues with bowel movements, like diarrhea, bananas can help with that.

Ginger: This is another one of those powerhouse foods. Ginger is excellent for reducing nausea, gas, loss of appetite, and morning sickness.

Whole grains: These are also full of fiber and good for digestion.

Those are all great foods for digestion and your whole body. You may also want to try nuts, low-fat dairy products, and a wide variety of fruit. While there are great foods for your body, there are also terrible foods. The following are foods you should stay away from:

  • Fried foods: These are high in fat and cholesterol
  • Soft drinks: Soda is high in sugar
  • Peppers: Chili peppers are delicious, but they can cause gastrointestinal issues
  • White bread: Refined wheat is full of empty calories
  • Processed foods: These have been linked to cancer and are hard to digest

If you stay within those guidelines, your body will be happy and so will your gut.

Why is health important?

To put it bluntly, taking care of your health is important because if you do not pay attention to it, you will die. Or, at the very least, you will be in a tremendous amount of pain. It is the same reason we have when you ask why is the digestive system important.

The building blocks of your life begin with the digestive system. Remember, it is your body’s engine. Everything you eat and drink matters, so you want to make sure you are treating your body well. If you have never paid much attention to it before, now is the time to start. It can be hard to change your eating habits, but you will be so much better for it. Your digestive system will thank you and so will you.

Now you know the answer to why is the digestive system important, and you can spread your knowledge.

 

Featured image: Creative Commons CC0, by Kat Jayne, via Pexels

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