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Know thyself: The Digestive system.
On average we take 3 meals a day. Just like a power station require energy to turn its turbines , our body requires energy to power the 12 systems that coordinate various functions done by the 78 organs. These organs and tissues are made of a massive 100 trillions cells . The cells and organs in the body are living organisms requiring energy and nutrients to operate.
How does this happen? The answer is simple. Food!
Come with me we unpack the “Digestive system” and how it help to keep us a live.
The digestive system is sometimes referred as the “elementary canal”. It is made up of 9 different parts. i.e The Buccal (oral) Cavity, the Food pipe (esophagus), the stomach, duodenum , the liver, the Gall bladder, the Pancreas the Small intestine, the large intestine, rectum and the anus. Covering a total of about 9 meters, the parts work in unison to break down food into nutrients and energy.
Digestive system is derived from the word digestion. To digest food is to breakdown food matter into smaller particles that can be absorbed and assimilated for use the body.
The brain can be said to be part of digestive system. It signals the enzyme Ghrelin to induce the stomach to start gastric secretions in response to the sight/smell of food. This makes us to feel hungry and ready to eat.
Digestion in the Mouth
We introduce food through the mouth. In the mouth, food matter is broken down into finer particles by action of grinding of the teeth . The mechanical grinding allows food particles to mix with saliva secreted from the salivary glands located on the lower jaw between teeth and the tongue.
The digestive juice saliva amylase contained in saliva digest starch into sugar. With the aid of the tongue, the food is mixed with saliva to form a “bolus”-(round balls that can be swallowed through the esophagus).
Esophagus is about 25 cm in length and connects the mouth to the stomach. To reach the stomach, food bolus is transported down the esophagus by peristalsis movement. To the left of the stomach lies the spleen. This is the point in the body where old red blood cells are recycled. Platelets and white blood cells also get stored in the spleen.
The stomach is the widest part of the digestive system. Chemical digestion of food takes place in the stomach. The walls of the stomach secrete special liquids and enzymes to help in digestion i.e weak Hydroelectric acid and mucus. The Digestive juices like gastric acid and enzyme (pepsinogen) breaks down protein into simpler substances.
The acid mixture kills bacteria present in food while the mucus work is to prevent the acid from digesting away the walls of the stomach. From the stomach, the food paste is pushed to the small intestine thru duodenum.
The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine and is located between the stomach and the middle part of the small intestine. After food is mixed with stomach acid, they move into the duodenum, where they mix with bile manufactured by the liver and stored in the gallbladder with digestive juices from the pancreas.
The small intestine
Highly coiled, the small intestine is about 7.5 meters long to allow large surface area for chemical break down of food. From the liver bile is manufactured. The body uses this bile to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Fats is broken down into fatty acids. Proteins into glycerin and amino acids while Carbohydrates into glucose and sugar. The walls of the small intestine are filled with finger like structure called villi. The villi contain thousands of blood capillaries for absorption of water and nutrients into the blood stream. Once the nutrients have been absorbed, the leftover liquid is passed through the small intestine to the large intestine/colon.
Located in the abdomen is a gland organ-pancreas. It is part of the digestive system where insulin Is produced. Insulin’s work is to regulate body sugar level as People with low insulin level are likely to suffer diabetes.
The large intestine
Wider than the small intestine is the colon (large intestine). About 1.5 meters in length, the removal of water and salts from the leftover food happens in the large intestine. This is possible thru the absorption by the intestines walls. The food waste is then stored in the sigmoid colon until “mass movement” empties it into the rectum.
Rectum is a chamber that begins at the end of the large intestine, immediately following the sigmoid colon, and ends at the anus. When the descending colon (rectum) becomes full of waste it empties out of the body through the process of bowel movements.
But are you taking the right food? Are you cooking the right meal? Stick around for our next article as we unpack deeper how food can turn from the life saver agent we adore to the toxic that may transfer/ carry to your body untreatable diseases, or lead to loss of life.
With Profound Respect,
Coach Maina Azimio. ICF- Accredited Certified Professional Coach,Conference Speaker and Corporate Trainer in Wellness.
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