Digestion System is more than just digestion that we had in mind, it encompasses digestion, absorption, utilization and elimination. It starts from our mouth all the way down to anus:
- Digestion – this is where food is broken down into its components and yes, it starts in our mouth.
- Absorption – Majority of absorption happens in small intestine but it’s not the only place for absorption. Simple sugar can be absorbed in the mouth and some veins in the oral cavity also facilitate direct absorption into the blood stream
- Utilization – This refers to the metabolism of nutrients / components in our body.
- Elimination – what doesn’t get eliminated will be recycled in your body so we are one of biggest recycling engine!
In general, it takes, on average, 12-24 hours for any food to go through this entire chain. Couple of foods that has been used in finding out your own transit times includes beetroots and corn. When you see it coming out from the other end, you know how long your transit time is.
Imagine that your digestive system is a huge recycling factory for electronics, Digestion is when the electronic device is fed into the factory and parts are taken apart. During the absorption phase, the parts/components are identified and channeled to the right department for storing or use. In the utilization phase, they are either used directly for a new device or reassembled into some other components for resell. And obviously whatever that is considered useless is eliminated / disposed from the factory. Our human body is in fact a gigantic recycling system so you can imagine what happened if wastes are not eliminated appropriately – they just get recycled in our body!
Our digestive system is under the Parasympathetic nervous system, i.e., we have no control over the entire process. It’s an automated self-running engine that is working collaboratively with the rest of our systems. That means we can’t speed things up when we’re in a rush. So, food flowing too fast through the digestive system means we can’t properly digest and assimilate – in another words, we wasted all that food! When you see undigested food in your stool, or when that process takes too short or too long, they all mean that some part of our digestive system is broken.
Then how come our process is not like everyone else. A “good” food to your friend may not be as “good” to you you – ie, You May not be what you eat. That boils down to the different factors that affect this process: including what are the sources? how they are prepared, how they are consumed, what’s the environment under which they are consumed, our internal system? Etc. A simple example is banana – banana is a nutritious food but people with weak spleen may get loose stool/diarrhea when eating banana, especially if eaten in first meal of the day. On the other hand, unripen banana can be used to combat diarrhea. So that illustrates a single food can bring on different consequences depending on all the different factors mentioned in consuming the food.
I’ll share more on these factors in next few blogs over next couple of weeks and some remedy depending on your situation, so stay tune!
- 消化 – 包含物理與化學上的消化，讓食物變成小份子
- 吸收 – 大部份吸收都於小腸進行，但也有在其他器官，如單醣可以在口腔吸收，
- 轉化，運用 – 這是營養代謝，以作進一步儲存或使用
- 排泄 – 沒被排泄的廢物或毒素會在身體內積累或循環再用。