Digestive System convert food into energy and basic nutrients to feed the entire body

October 4, 2017 12:00 am
You eat when you get hungry. It
seems so simple. You take a bite out of a sandwich.
That bite then begins an amazing
journey. That bite goes through every part of your digestive system. Your body
digests, or breaks down, the food into smaller and smaller parts. At the end of
the journey your blood carries chemicals from your sandwich to every part of
your body. The digestive system is a group of organs working together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients to feed the entire body. Food passes through a long tube inside the body known as the alimentary canal or the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion (the tongue, salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder). In this system, the process of digestion has many stages, the first of which starts in the mouth. The digestive system carries out a vital role processing the food and drink we consume to fuel the body, and then it deals with the waste by-products.
WHAT IS YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM LIKE?
Your digestive system is one long,
winding tube. The digestive system of a grown-up is 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9
meters) long.
Food goes from your mouth to your
throat. It then slides down a tube called the esophagus. It drops into your
stomach. From there it gets squeezed into your small and large intestines.
WHERE DOES DIGESTION START?
You start to digest food in your
mouth. You bite off a piece of sandwich. Your teeth grind the bite up. Your
mouth waters with a liquid called saliva. Saliva helps make the bite of
chewed-up sandwich soft and wet.
After you chew up the bite of
sandwich, you swallow it. Your tongue pushes the chewed-up food into your
esophagus. Your esophagus is like a chute that sends the food into your
stomach.
WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR STOMACH?
Your stomach breaks down the food
even more. Your stomach is like a bag made of muscles. Liquids called digestive
juices pour into your stomach. Your stomach muscles churn the food around to mix
it with the juices. The juices break down the food. The food turns into a liquid
in your stomach.
That bite of sandwich does not
look like bread, lettuce, cheese, or meat anymore. It is broken down into
chemicals called fats, proteins, starches, and sugars.
It takes your stomach about four
hours to do its job. Your stomach then sends the liquefied food on to your small
intestine. You start to feel hungry again when your stomach is empty. Sometimes
your stomach muscles start to churn when your stomach is empty. When this
happens, you can hear your stomach growl.
WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR SMALL INTESTINE?
The job of digesting your sandwich
gets finished in your small intestine. Your small intestine is a long and
narrow, twisty tube. The small intestine is by far the longest part of the
digestive system. Muscles surrounding this tube push the liquid along. More
juices break the food down even further.
Eventually the food is broken down
into chemicals that your body can use. These chemicals go through the wall of
your small intestine. They go into tiny blood vessels just outside the wall.
Your blood picks up the chemicals. Your blood carries them to every part of your
body. The food chemicals go from your blood into your cells. Your cells use the
chemicals to make the energy you need to do your homework, run, and play.
Other organs around your small
intestine help it digest food. Your liver and gallbladder help digest fats in
foods. Your liver also helps your body store extra food that it cannot use right
away. Your pancreas creates the chemical insulin. Insulin helps your body use
sugar.
There are some leftovers that get
to the end of your small intestine. The leftovers go into your large
intestine.
WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR LARGE INTESTINE?
Your large intestine is shorter
and thicker than your small intestine. Your large intestine takes water out of
the leftovers. It also takes out some vitamins and minerals.
Bacteria that live in your large
intestine break down any leftover food. Bacteria are tiny living things that you
can only see with a microscope. What is left in your large intestine is solid
waste.
Muscles in your large intestine
push the waste along. It goes from your colon to your rectum. The waste gets
pushed out of your body through an opening called the anus.
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