Slow and Irregular Digestion – a Health Enemy

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The bowel movements become rarer, and the body turns weaker: sounds familiar? Even though such problems are becoming more and more spread, we do not entirely realize how much can slow digestion be harmful to our health. Let’s see why…

Digestion: a process in which weak links are not allowed

The digestive system is made up of a group of organs that are responsible for the digestion of the food we have eaten. This means that the nutrients need to be “soaked up by the body” as effectively as possible, and the waste material should be removed from it as soon as possible.

The digestive system consists of the digestive tract and digestive glands. The digestive tract is basically a long pipe consisting of a mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and small and big intestine. Each organ has its important role, and they all have to function well for the digestion process to be regular. The body receives nutrients from the food we eat on its way through the digestive system. It is those nutrients and energy that it needs to function normally. If only one part of “this chain” does not function properly, problems of slow and irregular digestion occur. “

The biggest part takes place in the small intestine

The main part of digestion takes place in the upper part of the small intestine. The role of the small and big intestine in the digestion process mostly consists of:

– absorption of nutrients;

– getting rid of toxins and waste material;

– Synthesis of some vitamins which is conducted by the so-called good bacteria or probiotics. 

The last phase of digestion takes place in the big intestine. Resorption of water is conducted here, and the microbes break down the food that is indigestible to a human. The role of the big intestine is to form, store, and release the stool. This material stays in it for 12 to 24 hours. Strong muscles that enable stronger contractions of the bowel for its content to go out in a controlled way can be found in the wall of the big intestine. 
For the entire system to perform its function, we need to take care of it, i.e., we need to live in a way to maximally facilitate the work of our digestive organs (read in our article how to accelerate digestion and beat constipation), because otherwise, we can very quickly succumb to slow digestion and thereby, bad physical state. And why is all this so harmful? One of the main reasons is that our gut is our biggest immune organ since it contains up to 80 % of immune cells. Therefore, if you want to have a strong and durable body, you need a healthy digestive system. So, we can rightfully say that healthy digestion is crucial for a healthy life.

An elderly woman takes care of her healthy bowels and regular digestion, so she is eating an apple.

Nowadays more and more people have problems related to slow and irregular digestion and constipation. Even though every person has their own rhythm of digestion, and some people have bowel movements less frequently than others, there are still some general guidelines that help us understand if our digestion is slow. The experts describe the latter condition as difficult and irregular bowel movements that occur less than once a day, accompanied by the feeling of incomplete defecation and bloating. More and more studies show that the reason for this is mostly in the modern diet, which is mostly based on too many greasy, salty dishes that are difficult to digest on the one hand, and do not contain enough fiber and other nutrients that are good for the gut on the other hand. 

The following also greatly contributes to irregular bowel movement:

– lack of physical activity,  

– inadequate water intake,

– some metabolic diseases,

– stress exposure,

– taking certain medications, or

– ignoring the need for bowel movement.

Consequences of slow digestion

Slow digestion very often leads to the following consequences:

– it very often leads to unnecessary retention of waste material in the body,

– it reduces the efficiency of the defense system, and

– it threatens health.

Constipation and slow, i.e., irregular digestion, can significantly reduce the quality of life and even lead to reduced productivity at work, depression, and anxiety. That’s why it is so important to pay enough attention to the health of the digestive system and start solving a problem as soon as we notice it. 

Prevention is the key

Our intestines are a very complex mechanism and today’s lifestyle does not favor them. All the harmful material we are exposed to through food, drinks, medications, and the environment in the end has a negative impact on the health of our digestive system and reduces its functionality. To reduce some chronic problems and strengthen the body, the bowels need to be stimulated to work on an everyday basis to get rid of the accumulated waste material. The best way to achieve this goal is to adjust the menu which first and foremost means a sufficient intake of fiber obtained from fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, etc. However, we have to be careful not to fall into a trap while creating our diet, and you can find out more about this in our article on myths related to constipation. We also need to make sure to drink enough fluids and get the right amount of physical activity. 

If you want to do more for prevention, drinking natural mineral water is also an excellent solution. One of the best choices is Donat which boasts one of the highest mineral contents on the market. Thanks to a unique mix of sulfate and magnesium, it is considered an efficient osmotic laxative that regulates or accelerates the digestion process, and this has been clinically proven. Therefore, its effects are exclusively mechanical, so it does not cause addiction and it does not have a bad effect on health. 

Frequently asked questions

1. What does slow, i.e., irregular digestion mean?

The latter condition is described by the experts as a difficult and irregular bowel movement that occurs less than once a day, accompanied by the feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowel and bloating.

2. Which organs make up our digestive system?

The digestive system consists of the digestive tract and digestive glands. The digestive tract is basically a long pipe consisting of a mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and small and big intestine. Each organ has its important role and they all need to function well for the process of digestion itself to be regular.

3. What else, besides an irregular diet, contributes to irregular bowel movement?

Digestion is mostly slowed down by lack of physical activity, insufficient intake of liquids, certain metabolic diseases, stress, use of certain medications, and neglecting the need for defecation.

4. What are the consequences of irregular digestion?

Slowed digestion often causes retention of waste material in the body, reduces the resistance of the immune system, and it can also lead to reduced efficiency at work, depression, and anxiety.

5. What is the best way to get a healthy digestive system?

The most reliable way for healthy digestion is prevention, which means a balanced diet, moving enough, and avoiding stress and unhealthy habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

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Couscous with vegetables and chickpeas