The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract which consists of a long, twisting tube and a series of organs from the mouth to the anus. This includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, together with the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas.
The primary function of the digestive system is to break down the food we eat into smaller parts so our body can use them to build and nourish cells and provide energy, and package the residue for waste disposal.
Gastrointestinal tract, being one of the most important parts of the digestive system, is populated with over 400 different species and close to 100 trillion of bacteria. The balance of these bacteria is the key to good health. However, the “balancing act” of the microorganisms in our gastrointestinal tract can be thrown off in various ways such as:
- Drug usage like antibiotics
- Poor diet
An imbalance of these microorganisms will lead to health problems and gastrointestinal disturbances such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
You can adapt some changes in your lifestyle and take these positive steps to maintain the health of your digestive system:
- Eat a healthy diet. Increase fibre consumption and drink plenty of water
- Eat moderately, slowly and regularly. Try not to eat in a rush and do not overeat
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce/manage stress levels
- Quit smoking
- Take probiotics to restore the imbalance of microorganisms