Things To Know About Your Body’s Digestive System
By F. Terrence Markle
Your body’s digestive system is a one of a kind food factory. The digestive system comes alive whenever you smell or see food or drink that’s appetizing to you. You can almost taste the food and your stomach contracts in anticipation. On top of that, your intestinal glands also react and start secreting chemicals that eventually will get the nutrients out of the food you eat that build body tissue and provide energy to your body.
The digestive system is very complex but yet very straightforward. The simple description of the system is the various components. The system includes the following: eyes, nose, mouth, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
There is a two-part process to digestion: mechanical and chemical. In the mechanical process, your mouth receives food and places it into your stomach. The food is broken into small pieces by your teeth and then swallowed. The stomach breaks the food into smaller pieces through a churning action. In the chemical process, the entire digestive tract contains enzymes and other substances (stomach hydrochloric acid and liver bile) that dissolves the food and releases the nutrients in the food.
A specific role exists for each organ in your body’s digestive system. The nose and eyes are the first experience in the process. A conditioned response occurs when you see and smell appetizing food and drink. The physical nose picks up the aroma transmitted from the food and stimulates the olfactory nerve fibers that stretch from the nose to the brain. As a result, your brain will send an encouraging message to your mouth and digestive tract. The eyes play a similar role as the nose when appetizing food is seen.
Your salivary glands will swing into action when food is put into the mouth. The teeth will chew and grind the food into smaller pieces that can be further processed. The mouth and teeth action enables you to swallow the food without choking and break down the indigestible fiber and expose the digestible portion of the food. In parallel, the mouth’s salivary glands secrete saliva to moisten and compact the food and enable it to slide down your esophagus and into the stomach.
The stomach has strong muscles that encircle it. These muscles provide rhythmic contractions to move the food and enable the stomach to further break down the food. Stomach wall glands secrete juices (blend of hydrochloric acid, enzymes and mucus). These juices enable alcohol to be directly absorbed into the blood stream. In addition, the enzymes enable fats and proteins to be separated into fatty acids and amino acids. As a result, the stomach churning turns the food into chyme (a thick soupy mass).
The chyme enters the small intestine (about 20 feet long) and more gastric chemicals are released and encountered. These chemicals continue to break down the food into items (sugars, fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins) that are absorbed into the intestinal wall as the food mass is moved through the small intestine by way of contractions.
Once the digestible and useful ingredients of the food mass has been removed, the remaining indigestible waste from the consumed food moves into the large intestine or colon. The main function of the colon is to remove the water from the waste product and compact the remaining matter into a bundle better known as the feces. The feces get its distinctive brown color from the leftover bile pigments. Also, the colon produces vitamin B12 and vitamin K for the body. Nitrogen is produced (provides the brown color) by the breakdown of amino acids. Finally, gas is produced by breakdown of the fiber (indigestible complex carbohydrates) of the waste product.
Terry has been writing articles online for over 5 years. Not only does this author specialize in diet, nutrition, vitamins, fitness, weight loss and sports, you can also check out his latest website on reviewing Rawlings Baseball Gloves Tips and TPX Baseball Gloves Tips for the best baseball equipment and supplies.