The Digestive System and the Immune System- and how they affect athletes

FullSizeRender (13)Although it may seem surprising, from contrasting systems such as the circulatory system to the nervous system, the body is interconnected in many ways! In order for the body to function productively, each of these systems rely on each other to work efficiently in order to maintain a healthy body. Two of the eleven systems that work together in particular are the digestive and immune systems.

The digestive system specializes in breaking down food into smaller units and consists of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the digestive system works to break down food into nutrients.FullSizeRender (11)

The immune system on the other hand, works to fight off germs. According to Kids Health, the immune system consists of a group of cells, tissues and organs that work to protect the body.

Now you may be wondering, how are these contrasting systems interlinked? According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz’s article from the Huffington Post, each system is dependent on one another. If one system isn’t functioning, the others will not work as effectively. With that being said, the digestive system’s gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) is closely linked to the immune system as the tract is responsible for creating a type of good bacteria that aids the immune system when fighting off pathogens and germs.

While eating healthy and receiving necessary amounts of vitamins and nutrients is

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photo taken by Mr. Rojas

important for everyone, it is vital for athletes. Athletes have to be mindful of their diets because a healthy diet will allow athletes to perform to the best of their abilities. According to the Marathon Charity Cooperation, athletes use a lot more energy while training, and as a result require more energy to repair muscles and maintain good health.

With that being said, to stay healthy, athletes and people in general should stray from consuming chemical- filled foods, and focus on consuming foods that will benefit and restore the body. Some foods that directly aid the immune system according to Dr. Isaac Eliaz include:

  • zinc
  • cinnamon
  • ginger root
  • fish oil

FullSizeRender (12)While Dr. Isaac Eliaz recommends these food for athletes, it is important for everyone to have a healthy diet to maintain a healthy body.

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What Has Shaped My Views On Nutrition?

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Photo of food pyramid. Photo from wikipedia 

Nutrition is a very debatable topic. Although most people would say nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle, many people are concerned with one’s eating habits due to their physical appearance. Since I was little, I have been taught that carbs are the leading factors of gaining weight. Although my perspective has somewhat changed, I have encountered many experiences that support how an excess of carbs is not necessary for a healthy diet. My parents are not ones to force a healthy diet, but what has shaped and motivated me to a healthy diet is volleyball. What I eat during and after volleyball practices, games and even the season in general will greatly affect my performance level. As a result, my interest in volleyball has pushed me to do research on nutrition, which is what ultimately shaped my views on nutrition.

Nutrition is defined as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” In my perspective, nutrition is about having a balanced diet and being aware of one’s food consumption. It is important to make smart choices with the topic of nutrition as ultimately, it is our own bodies that are being affected.

How I Stay Engaged

With one school year lasting 9 months, it is often difficult to stay engaged and focused; it is sometimes difficult to stay focused even within an 80 minute class period! Although sometimes I may stray from the task at hand, I try to connect my interests with what I am learning to stay focused. From my own mindset, to how a teacher teaches, to the environment my classmates bring to a room, every factor contributes to how I stay engaged throughout the school year. Below is an infograph on a few ways on how I stay engaged!

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