The digestive system works tirelessly

You may not remember what your breakfast was today, but your digestive system has been working hard to convert that food into the nutrients you need to grow, jump, run and study.

The digestive system is made up of a group of organs that work together to provide us with the energy we need to live. Food contains nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, fiber, salts, and water. It is through digestion that these nutrients are broken down and absorbed by our body.

Parts of the digestive system

-The mouth: digestion begins with the mouth. When chewing, our teeth grind or grind food into a mass that we can swallow. At the same time that we chew, the tongue helps to mix the food with the saliva. Saliva allows carbohydrates and fats to begin to break down in the mouth. The tongue also pushes chewed food down the esophagus. This mass of food is known as a bolus.

-The esophagus: When you swallow, food is sent into a tube with muscular walls that connects your pharynx (throat) to the stomach. This tube is known as the esophagus. The function of the esophagus is to transport solid and liquid food to the stomach. At the same time that all of this is happening, the epiglottis, which sits on the back of the tongue, makes sure that food doesn’t go into the airway and cause you to choke.

-The stomach: from the esophagus, the food bolus enters the stomach. The stomach is a muscular sac that churns and crushes the food bolus even more, adding gastric juices. Gastric juice is acidic and not only breaks down the food bolus but is also responsible for eliminating bacteria that are harmful to our health. After 1 to 4 hours, the stomach, through movements called peristalsis, converts food into a thick liquid called chyme, which enters the small intestine drop by drop.

-The small intestine: it is a tube that measures about 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter and about 3 to 6 meters long depending on the size of each person. This is divided into three parts: duodenum, jejunum and ileum.

The walls of the small intestine are covered with hairs that have cells and blood vessels that have the function of trapping nutrients to transport them to the blood.

-Liver and pancreas: Within the small intestine, chyme mixes with enzymes from the pancreas and bile droplets secreted by the liver to form a thin, watery substance called chyle. In this way, food is converted into the nutrients that the body needs such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats.

-The large intestine: not everything you eat is converted into nutrients, so the body needs a way to dispose of food that is not digested (converted into nutrients). It is at this stage that the large intestine comes into play. The large intestine is the final part of the digestive system and is approximately 1.5 meters long. This divide is made up of the cecum, colon, and rectum. The colon absorbs water and minerals from food that is not digested, creating a solid matter that will be stored in the rectum to be later expelled.

Take care of your body

Your body is a machine that needs fuel to function optimally. Take care of him! Eat a balanced diet, don’t forget to drink water and exercise… your body will thank you.

Did you know . . . ?

✔ The muscles of the esophagus are so strong that they can push food down into your stomach, even if you were standing on your head.
✔ Has your stomach ever rumbled? These embarrassing sounds are due to the peristaltic movements of your stomach, which occur when you are hungry. They can also happen when you’ve swallowed air from eating too fast or talking while eating.
✔ All foods have different nutrients. Meat, eggs, and milk are rich in protein, which provides nutrients that are used by every part of the body to develop, grow, and function properly. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which is essential for the movement of food in the digestive system.