Our digestive tract is a 30-foot-long muscular tube that begins at our mouth and ends at our anus. Its 3 main functions:
1. Transform food into absorbable nourishment.
2. Fend off invading organisms and toxins.
3. Expel waste products.
Ingested food travels down the digestive tract through a process called peristalsis, a wave-like muscle contraction. During peristalsis, different enzymes, bacteria and acids critical to digestion are secreted in a highly specialized and coordinated process. When food is completely broken down it passes through the digestive tract's tissue wall and is absorbed by the body’s cells.
Around 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Its primary role is to “ok” or “attack” a food we ingest. When our immune system doesn't like something in our tube, it uses inflammation and excess mucus as ammunition. If the immune system is constantly on the offensive, these reactions can damage our digestive tract. Inflammation deteriorates the intestinal lining, resulting in something called “Leaky Gut syndrome.”
Why do some medical professionals refuse to talk about the connection between poor health and poor digestion? Clearly our bodies have evolved a highly complex digestive immune system for a reason. Denying the fact that food plays a crucial role in our overall well-being seems misguided and potentially dangerous. It is critical that we start addressing digestion as a key element in human health.