The Digestive System

When a person begins to eat food, the body's digestive system begins to work. The digestive system is the system of the body that is responsible for breaking down the food a person eats. The process of food being broken down is called digestion. Digestion allows the body to receive the nutrients and the energy from the food that is eaten. During digestion, all of the food a person eats is eventually turned into the building blocks and fuel a person needs.

The system actually begins to work when a person sees or smells the food. Saliva, or spit, begins to form in the mouth. When the food is eaten, the saliva will begin to break down the chemicals in the food making it mushy and easy to swallow.

With the help of a person's tongue the mushy food then moves to the back of the mouth into the opening of the esophagus. The esophagus is about a 10-inch pipe that moves the food from the back of the throat to the stomach. There is also a small flap blocking the windpipe to make sure the food goes down the correct tube. The special flap is called the epiglottis. If a person begins to cough or choke, it is sometimes caused by food or drink going down the windpipe instead of the esophagus. There are muscles in the esophagus that help push the food into the stomach.

The stomach, another part of the digestive system, is the next stop for the food. It has three responsibilities: First, it stores the food, then breaks it down into a liquid mixture, and finally, it slowly empties the mixture into the small intestine. Inside the stomach, there are gastric juices which help break down the food, as well as kill any bacteria that may be in the food.

The next stop on the journey is the small intestine. The small intestine is located beneath the stomach, and if stretched out would be about 22 feet long. Its job is to break down the food some more, so that the body can absorb all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and the fats found in food.

Helping the small intestine do its job is the pancreas, liver, and gall bladder. The pancreas makes juices that help the body digest the fats and proteins from the food. The liver has a juice in it called bile that helps to absorb fats into a person's bloodstream. The gall bladder stores the bile from the liver until the body needs it again. The liver also filters out anything that may be harmful to the body, as well as stores vitamins and sugars for the body.

Finally, the large intestine is another part of the digestive system. The large intestine is thicker than the small intestine but not as long. Its role is to receive all of the waste products that a person's body does not need. The waste goes through the colon, which is a part of the large intestine. This is the last chance the body has to absorb any nutrients or minerals before the waste leaves the body.

Once the waste leaves the colon becomes a solid again and pushed out through the rectum. This step ends the journey of the food through the body and the digestive system. Drinking lots of water helps with the digestion of food in the body.

In summary the digestive system consists of saliva in the mouth, the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gall bladder, large intestine, colon, and rectum. The digestive system breaks down the food of the body so the nutrients and vitamins can help a person receive energy and nourishment.

A: Saliva
B: Ingestion
C: Intention
D: Digestion

A: Breaks down chemicals in the food.
B: Helps food become easy to swallow.
C: Causes food to become mushy.
D: All of the above

A: Esophagus
B: Trachea
C: Epiglottis
D: Pancreas

A: Esophagus
B: Trachea
C: Epiglottis
D: Pancreas

A: Pancreas
B: Liver
C: Stomach
D: Gall bladder

A: Pancreas
B: Liver
C: Gall bladder
D: Large intestine

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