From the Latin digestio, digestion is the action and effect of digesting. This verb refers to the activity carried out by the digestive system to convert food into substances that are assimilable by the body.
Digestion, therefore, involves the transformation of food that has been digested. Food, thanks to this process, is converted into simpler substances that can be absorbed by the body. Heterotrophic organisms (such as animals) resort to digestion to obtain energy from the organic matter they ingest, since the food is transformed into minerals and nutrients necessary for subsistence.
It is important to note that digestion takes place at different levels: subcellular, cellular and multicellular. The digestive system is made up of various organs that participate in the chemical and mechanical processes of digestion. The first stage is mechanical (food is reduced in size), while the following are chemical (to prepare food for absorption).
The feeding process, therefore, begins with ingestion (putting food into the mouth), continues with digestion (mechanical and chemical to convert complex molecules into simple substances), reaches absorption (nutrients pass into the lymphatic and circulatory capillaries by osmosis ) and ends with excretion (undigested materials are discarded through defecation).
In a symbolic sense, digestion is linked to the careful meditation of something in order to understand it or to the suffering that is carried with patience: “I still cannot digest the news”, “Being unemployed was a matter of difficult digestion”.
Tips to improve digestion
Digestive problems usually reflect one or more inappropriate behaviors related to eating, resting and physical exercise. But, in addition to their impact on our health, they generate general discomfort and reduce our performance at work and study, since they cause pain and discomfort that prevent us from concentrating. Here are some tricks to improve digestion:
* consume more fruits with shell, since this last part is the one that provides the highest percentage of fiber. Among the most recommended fruits are pear, guava and apple;
* drink a minimum of two liters of water a day. Water is essential for the proper functioning of our body;
* eat green vegetables. In particular, spinach, pumpkin, lettuce and Swiss chard, both in salads, roasted or as a side dish;
* Chew food well before swallowing. It is advice that many of us receive as children, and that over time we believe to be exaggerated or unnecessary, but the more ground the food enters, the easier it will be to digest. The trick is to eat in the company of people we like, avoid stress and take the time to savor the food, away from television and the Internet;
* avoid overeating. Sometimes it is difficult to accept that we are satisfied, especially when we are going through certain emotional conflicts, but ignoring the feeling of satiety when eating is the first step to hinder digestion;
* do not drink water during meals, but after they are finished;
* avoid excessively spicy foods, as they affect the work of the digestive system;
* reduce the usual consumption of flour to a minimum;
* respect meal times.
Although some tips seem difficult to carry out, they should not be thought of as an indivisible unit, but as a series of small objectives that we can pursue one by one, with effort and patience. We can all acquire better habits if we put our minds to it, and the promise of good digestion should be enough to get you started.