- Besides just digesting food, your stomach helps to protect your entire body. The acidity in your stomach helps to sterilise whatever you’re eating and kills off bacteria and potential food toxins. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract also has particles of lymphoid defence cells it sends out when something like a virus or bacterial infection, makes it through your stomach.
- A Platypus, as pictured below, doesn’t have a stomach.
- A stomach can stretch and hold up to 4 pounds of food at one time.
- Despite this, our stomachs are the same size in most of us.
- The lining of the stomach secretes 3 litres of hydrochloric acid every day, as well as enzymes that break down food, so it can continue on its journey through the digestive system. Amazingly, this acid can dissolve most metals!! How can the stomach cope with metal-dissolving acid? Well, to protect itself, it secretes a sticky, neutralising mucus that coats its walls. Even then, a new layer of this mucus is produced every 2 weeks.
- The stomach also makes a substance that is necessary for the body to absorb vitamin B12.
- When you blush, so does your stomach!
- We can survive without one. If your stomach needs to be removed, the surgeons attach your oesophagus (food pipe) directly to your small intestine, where most of your digestion is carried out. The stomach only partially digests your food. It leaves it in a form of a semi-fluid known as ‘chyme.’
- If you turn upside down while eating, the food will never fall out your stomach. This is because the movement that propels your food down your oesophagus, ‘peristalsis’ prevents this from happening because it only takes place in one direction.
What can Potentially Harm your Stomach?
- Not waiting at least 2 hours between meals or snacks. Your stomach never gets a chance to rest because it’s working all the time, possibly causing discomfort, indigestion, poor nutrient absorption and pain.
- Chewing gum.
- Overcooking your food. Doing this can strip your food of its nutrients and could harm your stomach.
- Eating too fast and not chewing your food properly.
- Having too much alcohol and coffee. They could irritate your stomach.
- Eating too much meat. Meat is difficult for your body to digest because the protein in meat is harder to break down. This could cause bloating and make your stomach empty slower. Therefore, potentially causing discomfort.
- Eating too much sugary foods and drinks. A high level of sugar in your diet can create a perfect environment for your ‘bad’ bacteria to multiply and cause stomach acid.
- Eating when you’re angry and anxious.
How to Look after Your Stomach.
Make sure you keep yourself hydrated and eat more fruit and vegetables. Remember to chew your food slowly; wouldn’t you want to enjoy the taste of your food?
Make sure you exercise regularly. It will help to support your whole digestive system.
Certain teas have been known to settle your stomach, including peppermint, chamomile, mint and ginger. Ginger contains, ‘gingerol’ which helps to speed up stomach contractions.
Finally, liquorice may help to prevent stomach ulcers and relieve acid reflux. It can be taken as a supplement called, ‘deglcyrrhizinated liquorice’ (DGL).
Sources: mentalfloss.com, healthline.com, livescience.com, softschools.com, raiseyourbrain.com, factslegend.org, geelongmedicalgroup.com.au, steptohealth.com, stanfordhealthcare.org, medicalnewstoday.com