Digestive system is one of the most important systems of any organism. It enables the organism get nutrients which are important for functioning. The most important organs of the human digestive system are mouth, salivary glands, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine and anus (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2012). Food travels through the digestive system and each organ contributes to rendering food into molecules or nutrients.
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Factors Affecting the Amount of Time Necessary to Digest Food and Helpful Foods
It is necessary to note that this travel can take from 24 hours to 72 hours. A number of factors affect the amount of time necessary for digestion. Firstly, the type of food plays an important role in this process (Gropper & Smith, 2012). Such products as vegetables, fruit and grains are rich in fibre.
Thus, fibre moves quickly through the digestive tract. On the contrary, eating a lot of meat will slow down the process as this food needs more time to be digested. Notably, physical training positively affects digestion process as it helps food move through the digestive tract. Drugs containing enzymes can also reduce the amount of time necessary for digestion. Caffeine slows down digestive processes.
Digestion in Organs
Digestion starts in the mouth. Food is grinded with the help of teeth. Notably, salivary glands secrete certain enzymes which start processing food in the mouth (Gropper & Smith, 2012). Saliva also moisturises food which helps it travel to the stomach. Food moves to the stomach through the pharynx and oesophagus with the help of contractions. In the stomach, food is grinded and mixed with the help of enzymes and acid secreted by this organ.
After this, food travels to the small intestine where it is processed with the help of enzymes secreted by pancreas and bile secreted by the liver. Bile is secreted by the liver but it is first stored in gallbladder which sends it to the small intestine. The small intestine is the organ which absorbs most nutrients. When all nutrients are absorbed, the food moves to the large intestine where liquid may be absorbed. Then the food leaves the body.
Breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins
There are three types of nutrients. These are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Each type of nutrient breaks down to be used in the body. Notably, the process of breakdown is different for all three types of nutrients (Gropper & Smith, 2012). With the help of enzymes, proteins are broken down into amino acids.
These acids are used to build other types of proteins necessary for transporting molecules and catalysing numerous chemical reactions which take place in the body. Fats are transformed into fatty acids travel to blood which transports them to cells which need these acids.
Acids which are not necessary are stored in fat cells. Fats are necessary for energy. Carbohydrates are also important for energy. These nutrients are broken down into glucose which is stored in liver for a short period of time until the needs of the body are met. Then glucose which is not needed is transformed into fats which are used for energy.
On balance, it is necessary to note that digestive system consists of several organs which perform certain roles. Remarkably, people need different types of nutrients which can be acquired from different foods, e.g. vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, grains, cereals, nuts, etc. Hence, people need a balanced diet consisting of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Gropper, S., & Smith, J. (2012). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Grosvenor, M.B., & Smolin, L.A. (2012). Visualizing nutrition: Everyday choices. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.