The Digestive System
- We eat food almost involuntarily without thinking of... what happens to the food we keep in our mouth. Though our body has it's own precisive mechanism of digesting the food without our knowledge, it would be interesting to find out the science behind the digestion process.
- The digestive system in our body is called as 'Gastrointestenal tract'(GI). This includes various organs right from our mouth to the rectum. Even the liver, pancreas and gallbladder also helps our digestive system- Digestion is nothing but the extraction of various elements like Proteins, Vitamins, Carbohydrates, Fats... that are useful for the body. It also includes the separation of wastage from the food and secreting it off!
- The digestion starts right from our mouth. When we take a chunk of food, the teeth in our mouth cuts the food into small pieces. The salivary glands produce a digestive juice called saliva which mixes with the food. The saliva not only lets the food to flow freely to the next process, but also breaks down the starch in the food to small amounts of sugar.
- The dissolved food in the mouth is then sent to a long tube like system called 'Esophagus'. Esophagus contains numerous muscles that produce contractions so that the food is pushed down to stomach. These contractions are so powerful that... even if you eat food upside down (facing legs towards the sky), the food would still reach the stomach.
- The food that has come to stomach is ready for yet another process. Stomach acts as a storage for the food that was taken and would slowly drifts the food into the small intestines. Meanwhile the gastric juices that are produced in the stomach would activate various digestive enzymes. The food particles are churned almost into a paste in the stomach, before they are let off to the small intestines for further digestion.
- Most of the digestive process happens in the small intestines. Small intestines is a coiled up tube like structure, which is almost 22 feet in length. Here the food is further digested with the help of various enzymes. Further, the Pancreatic juice from the Pancreas and Bile juice from the Liver helps in separation of nutrients from the food. The nutrients thus separated are absorbed by the walls of the small intestines and were released into the blood stream.
- The undigested food thats left off in the small intestines would then travel to the large intestines. Large intestines are also called a 'Colon'. Though they are just 5 feet in length, their width has given the name as 'Large intestines'. The water and the nutrients that are left over in the food is absorbed in the large intestines. The waste that's left over is then pushed into the rectum as stool.