Archive for September, 2015

Dynamic Digestion

digestive system

The fifth (and final body system) unit of Healthstart’s HEY! curriculum focuses on the digestive system.

Did you know your digestive system begins working the second you put food in your mouth?

Our mouths are the gateway to this important part of our body. We chew using our teeth and saliva helps to breakdown food so that it can descend through the throat into stomach, where it is further broken down and expelled to the small and large intestine. The small and large intestine work to absorb as many nutrients as possible from the foods.

The small intestine absorbs fat which are then transferred to the liver to be further cleansed and distributed by the blood stream. Our large intestine is a vitamin factory, where the remaining food is converted and pushed out to the body. These are very important parts of the digestive system and we should feed them well.

The liver, kidneys, and bladder all work to clean our bodies from the food we eat. The liver cleans the blood of toxins and produces a substance called bile that aids in breaking down fats in the small intestine. The kidneys clean the water we put into our bodies and either distributes the nutrients pulled out into the body via blood or expels it through the bladder to be released.

To keep your digestive system in prime shape you should drink plenty of water and eat foods high in fiber and probiotics. Probiotics help to keep the “good bacteria” in our guts, especially the intestines, healthy and happy so they can perform their necessary functions. The table below includes foods rich in these nutrients. As you look through the list think about how many you eat on a regular basis and perhaps try to incorporate something new in your next meal.


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Muscle Munchies

Muscle Foods

Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1WOGPGG

The fourth unit of our HEY! Curriculum focuses on your muscles and the foods you should feed your body to keep them healthy. Below is a brief summary of the content from the curriculum.

Muscles are bands of fibrous and protein tissues that work together to provide movement in the body. They provide strength, flexibility, and endurance to control balance and movement.

We have three unique types of muscles, each with their own functions within the body. These muscles are: heart, smooth, and skeletal.

Heart Muscle: A striped and striated muscle that pumps oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Heart muscles are controlled by the caregiver brain and function involuntarily, but can be sped up during aerobic exercise.

Smooth Muscle: Function involuntarily to control digestion or acceptance of light into the eyes. These muscles never tire.

Skeletal Muscle: Muscles that are connected to the skeleton and aid in movement of the limbs and other parts of the body. These muscles are active during daily activity as well as exercise. We have control over our skeletal muscles and can choose to move our bodies to work these muscles and use oxygen and fuel. Three types of exercise are necessary to maintain and build skeletal muscle:

  • Cardio/Aerobic: Raise heart rate and circulate oxygen through the body
  • Resistance Activities; By resisting gravity we make our muscles and bones strong
  • Flexibility: Increase range of motion in order to increase reaction time, balance, and agility.

What are some exercises you can think of that work and make your skeletal muscles strong?

Protein, fiber, and B-vitamins are necessary maintain and strengthen our muscles. Consume whole grains, lean proteins, and a variety of fruits & vegetables for optimal muscle nutrition


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