Today mom made pizza, your favorite dish. You sit down at the table and start eating it. For you it is easy, completely natural; yet, even if you don’t notice it, from the moment you find the plate in front of you, your body begins to implement digestive process. What is it and how does it work?
Dr. Marco Dal Fantegastroenterologist at the outpatient clinic of Humanitas Medical Care Murat in Milan.
How does the digestive process start?
That system digestive tract starts to occupation even before you put your first bite of pizza in your mouth, and it will continue to work for hours – or days, depending on what you’ve eaten. This process is called digestion and allows your body to get the nutrients and energy it needs from the food you eat.
Why does the digestion process begin even before eating?
Just think, see or smell a tasty food that is there saliva starts to form in your mouth. Saliva plays a very important role: when you start chewing, it will help make the food softer and easier to swallow, while the tongue will push each piece (called bolus) in the opening ofthe esophagusthe other part of the digestive tract.
What happens when food enters the esophagus?
The esophagus transports food from the back of your throat (where the windpipe is also located, which is responsible for letting air in and out of your body) to stomach. When you ingest food or liquids, a cartilage is called epiglottislowers on the opening of the larynx and closes it temporarily, for prevent chewed food and saliva from entering the airways (“Sideways”).
Once the food has entered the esophagus, it is pushed into the stomach thanks to the contraction of the muscles which make up the esophagus wall (this contraction is called “peristalsis”).
What role does the stomach play in the digestive process?
The stomach is an organ that looks like an elastic bag and is shaped like the letter J. It is directly connected to the esophagus and plays three basic roles:
1. Save the food you ate
2. Breaks it down into a liquid mixture
3. Slowly empty the liquid mixture into the small intestine
The stomach tears, chops and breaks down the food so that it can be digested. It does this with the help of the muscles on its walls and the juices gastric produced by the lining of the stomach. In addition to breaking down food, gastric juice also helps kill bacteria that may be present in ingested food before it reaches the small intestine.
From the stomach to the small intestine, the digestive process continues
The small intestine is the longest organ in the entire digestive system. It measures up to 5 meters and is folded several times on itself. Its job is to further break down the food mixture so that your body can absorb all the nutrients it needs (vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats).
The pancreas, liver and gallbladder are also found in the stomach. That the pancreas produces digestive enzymes that help the body digest fats and proteins; that liver produces bile, a dark yellow liquid that makes fats more digestible, which are stored in gall bladder (a small pouch located under the liver) which contracts immediately after each meal and pushes bile inside the duodenum.
The inner wall of the small intestine consists of a dense network of blood vessels through which nutrients pass into the blood.
The nutrient-rich blood enters directly liver which filters waste and turns some of it into more bile. This organ also helps to understand how many nutrients will go to the rest of the body and how many will be eliminated.
How are substances that the body does not need removed?
The final stage of digestion takes place inthe colon, the terminal part of digestive system.
As mentioned, after most of the nutrients are removed from the food mixture, what is left is waste, nutrients that your body cannot use.
The colon is divided into three parts: blind, colon And just, and has the task of reabsorbing water and promoting the expulsion of digestive residues. In fact, the digestion process ends with the expulsion of substances that our body no longer needs, in the form of what we commonly call poo.
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