The human body is an amazing creation. It is an extremely well co-coordinated mechanism which comprises of many different systems. The main systems of the body are the respiratory system, the digestive system, the circulatory system, the reproductive system, and the nervous system. All these systems are very complex and their functions are indispensable for sustenance of life. The digestivesystem is the system which enables the body to derive energy from the food that we eat. Let us take a look at some the interesting facts about the digestivesystem.
Contrary to popular belief, food does not enter our stomachs due to gravity. Many people- especially children tend to think that food enters the stomach because of the action of gravitational force. This is far from the truth. Food does not enter our stomach simply because of the fact that the stomach is located at a position which is lower than that of the mouth. If this were to be true, then the food would flow out if we went to sleep of were hung upside down! Food gains entry into the stomach due to contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the esophagus (the food pipe). When we eat a morsel of food, the muscles at the top of the food pipe relax to accommodate the food and then contract to push it down. Essentially, this means that food and water will reach our stomach even if were hanging upside down.
The esophagus is approximately 10 to 12 inches long. The length depends upon the height of an individual. The word esophagus (also spelt esophagus) comes from the Greek word ‘esophagus’ which literally translates as the entrance for eating.
The average human being eats about half a ton of food very year. The stomach of an adult can accommodate approximately 1.5 kg of food at a time. The body requires enzymes to digest food. When food is cooked, the enzymes in it get destroyed. This causes the body to produce its own enzymes. This causes a strain on the digestivesystem and may lead to indigestion. Thus, doctors advise people eat lots of raw foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have necessary enzymes and contain fiber which is needed for the digestivesystem to function efficiently.
The average human being produces a staggering 1.5 liters of saliva in one single day! Saliva helps the digestive system to break down the food.
The tract of the digestivesystem is known as the alimentary canal. It begins from the mouth and ends at the anus. The entire length of the alimentary canal is said to be 30 to 32 meters or 9 to 10 feet. Let us examine how the digestivesystem works - The food enters the alimentary canal through the mouth where it is mixed with saliva and formed into a ball which is known as bolus. The bolus travels down to the stomach through the esophagus. In the stomach, hormones such as gastrin are released to turn the food from the solid state into a liquid state which is known as the chyme. The chime then moves into the small intestine where it is broken down into simpler substances which can be absorbed by the body. Whatever is undigested enters the large intestine. The large intestine extracts the last of the nutrients from the chyme. The remaining waste is excreted from the anus in the form of feces.
The digestivesystem works at its best when the body receives a balanced diet.
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