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How digestion works

Published on July 3, 2023
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Bottom Line:

Our modern diet and lifestyle have been linked to a variety of digestive issues. The overall health of your digestive system is closely tied to the food you eat, the exercise you get, and your overall stress levels.

Your digestive system is a group of organs that take the food you eat and turn it into energy and nutrients for your body. The digestive system interacts with your nervous systems, immune system, endocrine system, and others to help regulate its function.

Why it Matters:

Perhaps what’s most interesting about digestion is that it actually starts in your brain! Your hypothalamus coordinates your appetite and how much food you eat. For example, if you are tired or are stressed out, the chemicals in your brain may influence you to eat more than usual in an attempt to find balance. We call this, you guessed it, “cravings.”

- Your digestive system is a complex network of organs, systems, tissues, and nerves controlled by your brain.

- Turning the food you eat into fuel for your body is the primary job of your digestive system.

- You can get rid of your food cravings by getting regular exercise and reducing your overall stress.

Next Steps:

Understanding that cravings are caused by a variety of physiological factors, and not just willpower, is the first step to controlling them. The next step is making a decision on which factors you want to impact this week - maybe it’s beginning a new exercise routine or finding ways to reduce daily stress in your life. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are able to take control of your cravings by making a few smart decisions with your lifestyle!

Science Source:

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Your Digestive System & How it Works. 2018

Mayo Clinic. See How Your Digestive System Works. 2018

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