The human digestive system is defined as a group of organs that work together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients to feed the body. It is made up of the gastrointestinal tract, also called as digestive tract along with liver, pancreas, and gallbladder which constitute the parts of the digestive system. The hollow organs that make up the GI tract include the mouth, stomach, esophagus, small intestine and large intestine that contains rectum and anus.
Some parts of nervous and circulatory systems also play a major role in the digestive process. A combination of nerves, bacteria, hormones, blood, and organs of digestive system complete the task of digesting the food and liquids that a person consumes in a day.
Digestive system Anatomy
Food starts its journey from the mouth or the oral cavity. There are many other organs that contribute to the digestion process like teeth, salivary glands and tongue. Teeth are designed to grind food particles into small pieces that are moistened by saliva before the tongue pushes the food in the pharynx.
This is a funnel-shaped tube that is connected to the back end of the mouth. It is responsible for the passage of chewed food from the mouth through the esophagus. It also has a major part in the respiratory system, as air travels through the pharynx from nasal cavity on its way to the lungs.
This is a muscular tube that connects the pharynx which is a part of upper section of gastrointestinal tract. It supplies swallowed food along it’s length.
It serves as a muscular bag which is situated towards the left side of the abdominal cavity, beneath the diaphragm. This vital organ acts as a storage for the food and gives our body enough time to digest meals. The stomach also produces digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid that maintains the process of digestion.
It is a larger gland present just inferior to the stomach. It is short with its head connected to the duodenum and tail pointing towards the left part of the abdominal cavity. The pancreas releases digestive enzymes to complete the process of chemical digestion.
This is a thin, long tube about 10 feet long and a part of the lower gastrointestinal tract. It is present just back of the stomach and acquires maximum area in the abdominal cavity. The complete small intestine is coiled and inner surface consists of folds and ridges.
This is a thick, long tube measuring around 5 feet in length. It is present just beneath to the stomach and wraps over the superior and lateral edges of the small intestine. It absorbs water and consists of bacteria (symbiotic) that support in the breaking down of wastes to fetch small nutrients.
Waste products are passed through the large intestine and eliminated out of the body as a solid matter called stool.
Why is digestion important?
Digestion is necessary for breaking down food particles into nutrients that are used by the body for energy, cell repair, and growth. Food and drink need to be converted into smaller molecules of nutrients before absorbed by the blood and carried to the cells throughout the body. The body breaks the nutrients from the drink and food into carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, and proteins.
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