So there you are, sitting at your table for dinner, eating grilled chicken and potato wedges. When you’re done, you sip one final glass of milk, wipe your lips, and move on to your next lesson. You’ve entirely forgotten about your recent meal. But it’s still in your stomach as if you’re in the middle of a laboratory experiment!
Everything begins to move when the mouth moves.
Even before you swallowed the first piece of pizza, your digestive system began to operate. And, depending on what you’ve eaten, your digestive system will be busy working on your chewed-up meal over the next few hours—or even days. Digestion is the process through which your body obtains the nutrients and energy it requires from the food you consume. So let’s see what’s going on with the chicken, potato, and milk.
Digestion occurs even before you eat, when you smell, see, or think about delectable food. In your mouth, saliva (or spit) starts to be produced.
When you eat, your saliva helps to break down the chemicals in the food, making it mushy and easy to swallow. While you chew with your teeth, your tongue assists you by moving the food around. When you’re ready to swallow, your tongue pushes a bolus, a little piece of mushed-up food, toward the back of your throat and into the entrance of your esophagus, the second half of the digestive tract.
The esophagus is a long, elastic tube that is roughly 10 inches in length. This device moves food from the back of your throat to the stomach using suction. Your windpipe, which permits air to enter and exit your body, is also located near the back of your throat. A specific flap called the epiglottis flops down over the opening of your windpipe as you swallow a little ball of mushed-up food or liquid, ensuring that the food enters the esophagus rather than the windpipe.
Food doesn’t just fall into your stomach once it has passed through the esophagus. Instead, the esophageal muscles move in a wavy pattern to slowly press the food into the esophagus. It takes around 2 or 3 seconds to do this.
The small intestine further breaks down the meal combination so that all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, and lipids may be absorbed. The proteins—and a little fat—in the grilled chicken may be extracted by the small intestine with the aid of three friends: the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Different fluids are sent to the initial segment of the small intestine by these organs. These juices aid in the digestion of meals and the absorption of nutrients by the body. The pancreas produces fluids that aid in the digestion of fats and proteins. Bile, a liver liquid, aids in the absorption of lipids into the circulation. The gallbladder also acts as a storage facility for bile, keeping it until the body requires it.
Your meal may stay in the small intestine for up to 4 hours, turning into a thin, watery slurry. It’s time well spent since the nutrients from your food may flow from the gut into the bloodstream at the end of the voyage. Once in the bloodstream, the complex carbs in the chicken crust, the protein in the chicken, and the calcium in the milk are all closer to helping your body.
The liver is the next target for these nutrients. The residual waste—food pieces that your body can’t use—is next sent to the big intestine.
That’s a hefty intestine.
As previously stated, there is waste left behind after most of the nutrients have been extracted from the meat mixture, which means your body can’t use it. This material must be expelled from the body. Can you figure out where it goes? Let me give you a hint: It finishes with a flush.
Before it leaves, it passes through the colon, a section of the large intestine where the body has one final chance to absorb water and minerals into the blood. As the water leaves the waste product, the residue grows harder and harder as it moves along, eventually solidifying. It’s crap, that’s for sure (also called stool or a bowel movement).
The large intestine propels the excrement into the rectum , the digestive tract’s final endpoint. The solid waste will remain in this location until you are ready to use the restroom. When you go to the bathroom, you push this solid waste via the anus. That’s the flush we were discussing!
Drinking water and eating a balanced diet that includes fiber-rich foods can aid your digestive tract. Poop passes through your system more easily when you eat high-fiber meals like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The digestive system is a vital organ in the human body. You wouldn’t be able to receive the nutrients you need to develop and remain healthy without them. And the next time you sit down for lunch, you’ll know exactly where your food comes from, beginning to end!
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