Around 2000 years ago the father of modern medicine have inscribed a statement, “all disease begins at gut“, and we still believe its authenticity. It is inquisitive to learn more about the causes emphasized him to make this statement since we also believe our digestive system plays a key role in our lifestyle.
A gut is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The major part of this group is the digestive system. Therefore, it is important to know more about this digestive system to make a bit change in our lifestyle.
How does our digestive system work?
It is a group of organs works together to perform the most essential functions of the human body. From ingestion to excretion are all functions included in this digestive system. There are numerous organs involved in this process of production of energy and essential nutrients from the food and excrete the inessential.
Let us see the six principle functions take place in the digestive system.
Ingestion of food
The most primary function of the digestive system is to intake the food. The mouth is an orifice from which all food enters the body. There are again different accessory organs inside the mouth which help in digesting the food such as the tongue, teeth, and salivary glands.
All accessory organs perform their tasks namely chopping of the food, sending taste information to the brain, pushing food to a subsequent part of the mouth and saliva helps to moist the food and start the digestion.
Secretion of fluids and enzymes
Digestive system produces seven liters of fluid every day in different forms such as saliva, mucus, bile, enzymes, and HCl. Every kind of fluid performs distinct functions. Saliva (a watery secretion) moisten the food we eat and lubricate it enough to pass through the posterior organs of the digestive system.
Mucus works as a lubricant inside the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). Bile breaks down fats into fatty acids which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract.
Mixing and Movement of food
It is the combination of three different processes as follows;
Swallowing is the process used to push the food through the pharynx and into the esophagus with the help of mouth and tongue.
Peristalsis is a muscular wave travels through the GI tract to move partially digested food. It takes a number of such kind of waves to push partially digested food to desired organs such as stomach and intestines.
Segmentation helps to increase the absorption of the nutrients.
Digestion of food into smaller pieces
It is a simple process of breakdown of food into small molecules which later absorbed into the body. We can also bifurcate this process into two processes take place at the same time such as;
Mechanical process is the physical breakdown of large pieces of food into smaller molecules. It begins at the mouth from chewing and chopping processes. Bile is used to break the fats into small molecules which are produced by the liver.
The chemical process begins right there inside the mouth during chewing when salivary amylase split complex carbohydrate into simple carbohydrates. It continued through enzymes and other acids present in the stomach, but major and vital part performed by the pancreas in the small intestine.
The pancreas secretes pancreatic juice which plays a key role in the digestion of lipids, carbohydrates proteins, and nucleic acids.
Absorption nutrients extracted from food
This became the easy process now. Our body mere need to absorb those prepared building blocks. Most of the absorption takes place in the walls of the small intestines. It begins in the stomach. The large intestine is also involved in the absorption of water and vitamins B and K.
Excretion wastes through the body
It is the last process performs in the digestive system. It is the passive biological system that removes excess and unnecessary materials from the body to prevent any kind of damage to the gut.
Benefits of the healthy digestive system
It is famous saying that for a healthy body, you need healthy digestion. Here are the benefits of healthy digestion;
- You do not experience bloating or digestive pain
- Manage appetite and so the body weight
- Manage cognitive health
- Proper stool
- Improves immune system
- Help you to live a longer life