The relationship between the digestive system and nutrition is very significant. Regularly eating a healthy, nutritious diet helps to ensure that the digestive system is functioning properly, from digesting foods and processing nutrients for the rest of the body, to eliminating waste. In general, the best way to ensure a careful balance between the digestive system and nutrition is to eat a healthy, balanced diet consisting of a mixture of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. People with food sensitivities or allergies may understand this connection all too well, if eating a certain food causes pain or illness in the gastrointestinal tract.
The way an individual eats is also important for the digestive system and nutrition. Eating too quickly and not chewing food thoroughly, for example, can make it much more difficult for the body to digest even healthy foods. This can mean that all the nutrients aren't absorbed properly. Nutritionists generally recommend making sure to sit down and enjoy a leisurely mealtime whenever possible. This typically includes sitting somewhere other than in front of the TV, and taking small bites and chewing thoroughly. This will ensure better digestion and nutrient absorption, and can prevent heartburn or indigestion later on.
A balanced diet is the biggest component of the digestive system and nutrition, though. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods ensures that the body has the vitamins and minerals it needs to digest and process foods. Whole-grain foods, as well as fruits and vegetables, are also loaded with fiber. This is a very important component of the digestive system, as it helps to move waste along the gastrointestinal tract, and assists with the absorption of all other nutrients. When considering the digestive system and nutrition, some nutritionists recommend taking probiotic supplements such as acidophilus, or just eating yogurt; either helps to balance the "healthy" bacteria in the GI tract and aid in digestion.
Some people also find that the connection between the digestive system and nutrition can cause problems. Eating an unhealthy diet with a lot of processed foods and saturated fat can make digestion more difficult. Food sensitivities or allergies, such as lactose or gluten intolerance, can also cause pain, stomach upset, and other digestive issues, and so some people find they need to cut these out of their diet entirely. It is important for everyone to see the connection between the digestive system and nutrition, and take steps to resolve any persistent problems, as ongoing digestive issues can actually lead to malnutrition and illness.