- Janelle Hunt
Our digestive system is an incredibly complex network of muscles and nerves which play a vital role in ensuring our intestines move and absorb the nutrients we need for optimal health. It’s easy to overlook the significance of stimulating peristalsis, the waves necessary to propel food through our digestive systems. But how exactly does stimulating peristalsis improve digestion? Let’s take a closer look. First and foremost, peristalsis helps squeeze food and fluid, starting in our throat, and pushing it through the rest of our gastrointestinal tract, so it can be broken down and the nutrients can be absorbed. As food passes through our gut, nerves trigger the muscles in our intestines to contract and relax at regular intervals - this is known as peristaltic motion and helps to move food along our gastrointestinal tract more quickly and efficiently. This allows food to be churned and mixed with gastric juices so it’s broken down into smaller particles which can be absorbed by your body; meaning we’re able to get more nutrition out of what we eat. In addition to improving absorption of nutrients, stimulating peristalsis also helps regulate stool movement, allowing easy passage of waste material from our system. Pushing substance through our gut is essential to eliminate accumulating hormones, bacteria and waste products. If there’s a disruption in this process, due to an underlying condition, injury, medications or being chronically stressed, it can cause constipation which can lead to unpleasant symptoms like bloating and abdominal discomfort. By stimulating movement, these issues can be effectively addressed. Finally, peristalsis stimulates other organs to do their jobs, so everything works in unison. These natural waves in our body stir up acid and gastric juice in our stomach to start the breakdown process. Then when food is maneuvered out of your stomach, this motion allows our body to secrete bile from the gallbladder into our intestines which aids in the further breakdown of food. The kidneys are also energized to absorb essential minerals and move fluids into our bladder so that excess fluid is excreted in urine. It is clear that stimulating peristalsis is essential for proper digestion to ensure our bodies get all the nutrients they need for optimum well-being. In order to do so, we should ensure that we’re consuming balanced nutrients – carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, color - drinking plenty of water, eating at regular intervals and de-stressing so we can move nourishment through our tract properly.