The digestive tract is the structure of the body responsible for the transformation of ingested complex food substances into simpler substances, capable of passing into the blood stream and being distributed to the cells of the body. The process of digestion takes place through both physical and chemical transactions. In the physical sense, food moves through the tract at a pace slow enough for each organ to perform its specific function and prepare the food for the next organ, but fast enough for proper absorption to take place.
In a chemical sense, food particles are broken down to allow for passage from the tract to body fluids. Through the two processes, foods are transformed from large molecules to those small enough to pass into the blood. Proper functioning of the digestive tract, with both its chemical and muscular activity, is essential to health.
The intestinal tract, located in the body’s abdomen, consists of both the small and large intestines. The greatest amount of digestion occurs in the small intestine. Only indigestible components of food reach the colon of the large intestines. For proper functioning of the intestinal tract, fiber is essential. Fibers clean the tract and keep it free of excess mucus and wastes.
Fiber is comprised of components of plant materials that are resistant to human digestive enzymes. Fiber functions in the digestive process from the very beginning of the process – the mouth. Through chewing, the mouth stimulates saliva flow, which initiates the flow of digestive juices. Fiber enters the stomach, contributing bulk as water is absorbed. Pectins and gums increase the thickness of stomach contents, which gives a feeling of fullness and slows down the emptying of the stomach. In this, fiber performs a unique service to the body by contributing to the maintenance of normal bowel movement. Through this process, the body removes toxins and bacteria.
Digestive enzymes such as pancreatin, bromelain and papain.
PSYLLIUM HUSKS are recognized as an exceptional source of dietary fiber. The small particles of husks are non-digestible and scrape the walls of the tract as they pass through.
RICE BRAN works in the same manner as Psyllium. Other natural fibers that perform the same task are wheat bran, oat bran, and flax seeds.
CLAY is an interesting natural substance. In fact, there are cultures that make “eating dirt” part of their health maintenance program.
PECTIN is a substance found in fruits and vegetables. It adds bulk to the diet and is important to the function of the bowels.
SLIPPERY ELM BARK is considered a mucilaginous herb, that is, an herb which contains a gummy substance found in the seeds, roots or bark. Marshmallow Root is similar to Slippery Elm in this aspect.
-Include fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains
-Avoid saturated fats
-Avoid fried and refined foods
-Increase consumption of flax seed, whey, bran, yogurt, greens
-Eat smaller meals
-Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid with meals
-Take a walk daily
-Consider a Probiotic after a course of antibiotics