WHAT IS IT?
The intestine’s task is to separate the good from the bad in the food we eat. The small intestine is six metres long. It’s role it is to digest and absorb most of the food. The large intestine’s job is to absorb water before allowing waste to leave the body through the rectum.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Food spends about four hours in your stomach being treated with gastric juices, before moving into the small intestine where digestive juices from the liver and pancreas absorb usable carbohydrates and proteins into the bloodstream. The large intestine takes the toxic leftovers and lubricates them with mucus to send it through the colon, rectum and anus, where it waits at the sphincter. When that muscle relaxes, the waste is expelled.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
Deaths from digestive illnesses, such as colon cancer, liver disease, pancreatitus and diverticular disease account for one in eight UK male deaths. Ulcers, appendicitis and gastroenteritis (viral or bacteria) are common, but the most common ailment is diarrhoea. This is caused when inflamed intestinal walls don’t absorb sufficient water. Constipation occurs when too much water is absorbed. Intestinal muscle spasms can cause irritable bowel syndrome.
HOW CAN I KEEP IT HEALTHY?
Help out your intestine by chewing food slowly, while sitting down. Drink eight glasses of water a day and encourage ‘friendly’ bacteria with fermented milk drinks, live yoghurt, bananas, onions and leeks.