We talk about it all the time, but do you know what the gut is? Not a problem if not, here is a brief overview we’ve written so now you’ll know.
The gut is a tube from your mouth to your bum. The gut, or gastrointestinal tract, processes food until it is either absorbed by the body or passed out as stool.
The digestion process takes place before you begin eating. Have you ever noticed you start salivating or your stomach rumbles as you read a menu, cook dinner or smell food? This is the body releasing enzymes and stomach acid ready to digest the food you’re about to eat.
Next, your teeth and the enzymes made by the body begin to break the food down as you chew. The food then moves down your oesophagus into the stomach. The stomach acid produced then starts to do the bulk of the digestion work, with a helping hand from your liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Some of the foods and liquids will be absorbed through the stomach lining at this point. After this, we move to the small intestine. Muscles in the small intestine wall help move the food through. Most of your nutrients are absorbed during this stage.
Then, we move into the large intestine, where your bacteria ferment undigested food and produce short-chain fatty acids and vitamins for the body. Excess fluid is also reabsorbed and added to your stool.
Finally, your large intestine has a good tidy up and will make a mass of waste, leaving your body as a stool. There you have it. That’s how your food moves through your body.
Everything you eat and drink goes through your gut. If your gut is healthy, it will contain ‘good’ bacteria and immune cells that break down your food, absorb vitamins and nutrients and fight off bacteria and viruses. An unhealthy gut can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn.
There is also increasing evidence suggesting that an unhealthy gut is linked to a wide range of diseases, mental health issues, and weight problems. Therefore, it’s essential to look after your gut to look after you.
Browse through our other blog posts for more information on how the gut can impact various aspects of your life.