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Digestive System Facts

Digestive System


Here we bring you some fascinating digestive system facts of the human body. The digestive system of not only humans, but also other animals will fascinate your kids. They will be intrigued on how it plays an important role and how our body breaks down the food, we eat. The processes of the digestive are many. It starts from the saliva to chewing food, and passing it through the esophagus to the stomach and the intestines.

Digestion is defined as the complex process of breaking the food we eat into nutrients. The body absorbs this food and uses it for energy, growth, and necessary cell restoration. The digestion process also involves creating waste that will be eliminated.

The two types of digestion are mechanical and the chemical digestion. The former is the breakdown of large pieces of food into tiny pieces by chewing or mastication. The latter, “chemical digestion” uses enzymes to break down this food further into smaller molecules which the body separates and the necessary ones absorbed.

Listed below is brief but a bit detailed information on the digestive system and other absorbing facts.

  • The digestive or better known as the gastrointestinal tract is the long winding tube that starts at the mouth and culminates at the anus.
  • Our saliva present in our mouths plays an important role in the initial digestion. It moistens the food to assist in the chewing and later the swallowing process. Starchy foods are also chemically digested by an enzyme contained in the saliva.
  • Around 1.5 liters of saliva are produced by the salivary glands daily.
  • A round small slurry mass by the name of Bolus is produced to assist in swallowing as a result of chewing and the digestion of starch.
  • The pharynx, which is located at the back-end of the throat, has a tissue known as epiglottis. This closes while swallowing, and prevents the food from going down the windpipe or trachea.
  • After swallowing, the bolus or the food travels through the esophagus and takes about 7 seconds to reach the stomach.
  • The muscles lining the esophagus contract and relax to produce a ripple process, which is known as peristalsis. This contraction pushes the food down the esophagus, even if you swallow upside down.
  • Proteases are enzymes that break down the food proteins in the stomach and the intestine.
  • The saliva contains amylases to break down carbohydrates while lipase breaks down fats.
  • It is interesting to note that the adult stomach is very small when empty. It can however, expand and hold about 1.5 liters of food when fully expanded.
  • The inner wall of the stomach kills any bacteria by secreting hydrochloric acid. Along with the enzyme protease, it helps the digestion of food.
  • A thick coat of mucus, which protects it from acid corrosion, protects the stomach lining.
  • Stomach rumblings, otherwise known as borborygmi are caused by ripple muscular contractions or peristalsis at the walls of the stomach and small intestine. These are louder when the stomach is empty.
  • Certain animals such as deer, giraffe and cows have multiple compartments in their stomach.
  • While others like platypuses, lungfishes and seahorses have no stomachs at all.
  • Most of the absorption and digestion of food nutrients takes place in the small intestine. The stomach hands out a thick liquid called chyme to the small intestine. Enzymes further break this down in the small intestine which is subsequently absorbed the nutrients into the bloodstream.
  • The pancreas further secretes enzymes into the small intestine to further aid digestion.
  • The liver processes nutrients and produces bile for the digestive system.
  • The gall bladder stores the bile produced by the liver and uses it to break down dietary fat.
  • The human adult male's small intestine is approximately 6.9 meters or 22.6 feet in length. While the human adult female’s is approximately 7.1 meters or 23.4 feet.
  • The small intestine is made up of a duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.
  • The human large intestine is approximately 1.5 meters or 4.9 feet in length.
  • The large intestine is made up of the cecum, appendix, colon, and rectum. This is the final part of the digestive system. It absorbs water from the remaining indigestible food matter, and passes waste from the body.

We are certain that you and your kids will love these facts about the digestive system.


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