What exactly happens in our stomachs when we eat, even before we have taken the first bite of a meal, the brain sends impulses to the stomach and these impulses start the production of secretions in the stomach and the upper part of the stomach which acts as a reservoir expands the food passes into the stomach through the cardia at the stomach entrance, this is a muscle that acts like a valve closing the top of the stomach, the top part of the stomach, the fundus is where food in the air that we swallow with every bite is collected, this is where the stomach volume starts to adapt, the fundus is an extremely adaptable structure, the more food goes into the stomach, the more it actively expands in the middle part of the stomach. The body gastric juice is produced and mixed with the massive chewed food, the main component of gastric juice is gastric acid, this eliminates bacteria in the food and also helps to prepare the food for the following stages of digestion, the muscular contractions of the stomach will churn the food mass and mix it with gastric juice, three contractions per minute move the food mass back and forth after a certain time, the contents of the stomach are adequately broken down and mixed and are passed in small quantities into the intestine via the pylorus as the stomach empties, it gradually returns to its previous size.
Some lifestyle tips for a healthy stomach includes;
Beat stress to ease tummy troubles
You may have noticed a feeling of unease in your stomach during times of stress. That’s because anxiety and worry can upset the delicate balance of digestion.
In some people, stress slows down digestion, causing bloating, pain and constipation, while in others it speeds it up, causing diarrhoea and frequent trips to the loo. Some people lose their appetite completely.
Stress can also worsen digestive conditions like stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
A solution is to avoid eating when you’re feeling very anxious, stressed or unhappy.
It also helps your digestion if you avoid arguing at the dinner table, as getting angry can put you off your food or make eating harder. Try to keep mealtimes happy and relaxed.
Stop smoking to prevent reflux
Smoking can weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of the food pipe and allow acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction back up, a process known as reflux.
Reflux causes the symptoms of heartburn, and can bring on or aggravate stomach ulcers and inflammatory conditions of the bowel.
Smoking is also an important risk factor for stomach cancer.
Eat properly to help your digestion
It’s very easy to spend our working lives eating on the move or at our desks, gulping down food between meetings and then crashing out in front of the TV with a takeaway in the evenings.
But eating this way can play havoc with our digestive system.
Follow some basic rules to prevent problems:
Do not rush your food. Take the time to eat slowly. Try putting your fork down between bites and chew each mouthful well.
Do not overeat. Reduce the size of your portions at mealtimes, or try eating 4 to 5 small meals instead of 3 large ones.
Eat regularly and try not to skip meals.
Avoid eating a big meal just before you go to bed. Eat your last meal at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down.
Make sure you have plenty of water to drink
Binge drinking causes acid-related digestive disorders
Moderate drinking will not hurt your digestive system, but binge drinking increases acid production in your stomach, and can cause heartburn and aggravate other digestive disorders.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking 8 or more units of alcohol in 1 session for men, and drinking more than 6 units in 1 session for women.
Lose excess weight to beat heartburn
If you’re overweight, your tummy fat puts pressure on your stomach and can cause heartburn.
Shedding some pounds may relieve digestive symptoms like heartburn and other acid-related stomach complaints.