5 Things You Didn't Know About Your Digestive SystemEnter content title here...
Many people have learned about their digestive systems and how they function at some point or another, however that doesn't mean they know all there is to know.
The digestive system can be very complex, which is something that many don't realize until or unless they are experiencing digestive issues. Here are some facts about your digestive system that can help you understand your digestive health.
The Stomach Is Not the Star
While the first organ you think of when you imagine your digestive system might be your stomach, it doesn't actually play the biggest role in digesting your food. Even though the digestive process does start there, more work takes place in the small intestine. Typically, your stomach will begin the digestive process by breaking down foods with its acids, after which the food travels to the small intestine, which does even more work to break the food down and absorb its nutrients. However, even if your stomach doesn't play the biggest role, it can still give you important cues about your health, especially if you think you may be having problems with your stomach not digesting food like it should.
Your Stomach Doesn't Just Rumble When You're Hungry
Even though many associate stomach grumbling with hunger, your stomach can actually rumble at any time. The primary cause of stomach noises is peristalsis, which are the contractions of your intestines. They contract throughout the process of digestion, and the noise that results is often caused by fluid or gasses passing though your system. However, these noises do tend to be somewhat louder when you have an empty stomach, because there is nothing in your digestive system to muffle the sound.
Your Gut Is Full of Bacteria
While it might seem odd that there is bacteria in your digestive system, it can potentially play a very important role in your health. Your intestines actually contain many strains of healthy bacteria that aid in the proper digestion and absorption of food. Not only do these bacteria aid in the digestion of food, but there is also evidence to support the idea that healthy gut bacteria can be linked to improved mood as well as increased weight loss. Making sure that you eat plenty of soluble fiber is one good way to ensure that your bacteria is getting what it needs to work efficiently. Another good way to support the health of gut bacteria is by taking a quality probiotic.
The Small Intestine Is Surprisingly Big
Even though it's called the small intestine, it's actually bigger than you might think. The average length of an adult's small intestine is about 22 feet long. Besides this, it also has a sizable surface area. This is true in part because it has many folds, but also because it contains villi (a finger-like structure that helps absorb food) and the villi even have something called microvilli, which all adds up to something big.
The Large Intestine Does More Than You Think
While you might think that the role the large intestine plays involves only the final stage of digestion, passing stool, it actually does more than that. Similar to the small intestine, the large intestine also helps to absorb much needed nutrients back into your body that your small intestine was not able to get. Not only that, but it also absorbs water, too, which helps to keep you hydrated.
Your digestive system is complex and can affect your overall health in more ways than you might think. Learning to understand your digestive system and all the things it does can not only make you more knowledgeable, but can also help you to be more in touch with your body and how it works.
Ultimately, understanding your body can go a long way towards helping you notice when something is not working like it should, and can also help you to improve your overall health in the long run, too.