I couldn't eat another thing!
I couldn’t eat another thing!
For many, mid winter means food! Nothing is nicer than tucking into a hearty hot meal in the depth of a big cold spell. Christmas turkey, big puddings; most of us look forward to the special meals of winter.
The trouble is, our digestive tract may not be quite so enthusiastic. It is actually quite a delicate system that should be given more consideration! It is not just weight gain that is a problem from over-indulgence; suddenly tucking into enormous meals can throw our whole systems out of sync.
Digestion is important because it is the system that breaks down food so that the body can use its nutrients to build and nourish cells and to provide energy.
Our digestive tract is made up of several different organs which all have a part to play in general digestion. It starts with the mouth, when you chew and the food begins to be mixed with saliva to begin the digestive process. From here, the food is swallowed down into the esophagus which connects your throat to your stomach below. Near the connection with the stomach, the passage is closed by the sphincter, a small ringlike muscle which relaxed to let food pass and then closes up again.
The food then passes on into the large intestine and the remaining waste material is finally ejected.
At Christmas and at other celebratory meals, you can strain the capacity of the digestive tract causing a building up of stomach pressure. This can cause the sphincter to open, allowing acids to escape upwards which can cause immense discomfort. Eating more slowly to let your stomach cope with the sudden influx of food can help prevent problems.
Because fatty foods stay in the stomach longer, eating a surplus of fatty foods which usually go hand in hand with a rich meal means the digestive system has to work harder.
All this doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the festivities of the winter season, but understanding just a little more about how digestion works might help us eat just a tad more sensibly!!
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