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This article looks at the digestive system anatomy so that you can better understand the process of the human digestive system. Once your stomach has finished processing the chyme, it slowly enters the next major organ of the digestive system anatomy, the small intestine.
The pancreas produces a wide range of enzymes that further break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your food.
With the help of these digestive juices the chyme is broken down into smaller and smaller molecules and then finally absorbed into the circulatory system. The large intestine (and small intestine) is home to an amazing amount of bacteria that participate in further fermenting and breaking down your food.
When researching for this article on the digestive system anatomy I ran into several references that amazingly still referred to the appendix as useless. After the remaining nutrients and water are absorbed, the same peristalsis action that moved the food down your esophagus pipe now acts in the large intestine, moving it closer to the exit hole and creating the reflex to defecate. Diarrhea happens when the food is moved through the system too quickly and water is not properly absorbed.
Although I have tried to mainly focus on the organs of the digestive system, ita€™s impossible to cut the human digestive system out of the body without at least acknowledging some other important roles. What's Your Herbal Constitution?Take my quiz to find out.It's part of my free Herbal Energetics course.Sign up on my newsletter to get started! Information found on this website is meant for educational purposes only.It is not meant to diagnose medical conditions, to treat any medical conditions or to prescribe medicine. The smells and sights of delicious food can start the digestive process by promoting salivation and other digestive enzymes.
When you start to eat, especially if there are bitter tastes in your food, the liver produces bile and the gallbladder squeezes out bile through ducts that enter into the small intestine. As your food changes into smaller and smaller molecules with the help of these various digestive juices it becomes ready for absorption through the small intestine. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and adipose of the body, while extra water-soluble vitamins are excreted through the urine.
As the name suggests, the ascending colon literally travels up your right side before becoming the horizontal transverse colon, and then finally the sigmoid portion which travels down and ends at the anus. All that remains is some water, indigestible food, bacteria, products of bacterial decomposition, and inorganic salts.
The nervous system, hormones, and the circulatory system administer different actions in harmony with the digestive system, leading to the stimulation of digestive juices, reflexes to keep things moving, and then carrying the digested nutrients to the various parts of the body. The digestive system continues with the voluntary action of the intake, chewing, and swallowing of food. This hollow organ is an average of 22 feet long in an adult and is from 1.5 to 2 inches wide.
In view of this anatomy, it makes sitting on a toilet to defecate a very unnatural phenomenon because it forces your body to work against gravity.
Herbalist Jim McDonald says therea€™s research showing it may also repopulate the bowel with healthy bacteria after it has been purged. Astringents like blackberry and raspberry leaves can be taken to tone the tissue for better absorption, although for the most part ita€™s a good idea to initially let your body expel whatever it is trying to get rid of.
Normally your salivary glands produce just enough saliva to keep your mouth moist but, even before the food hits your tongue, your salivary glands are hopefully secreting extra saliva. It stores consumed food and liquid, it mixes this with gastric juices to further break it down into a liquid and, lastly, it slowly empties the food (now called chyme) into the small intestine (which is by no means small by the way). The small intestine is covered in a mucosal lining along with small villi that all help to absorb the nutrients that will be assimilable by the body with the help of several digestive juices from the liver, pancreas, and the small intestine. Squatting while doing your duty on the toilet arranges your large intestine in a way that facilitates defecation. About 1 to 3 pints of saliva a day is produced in the mouth; you can have too much or too little.
The stomach is lined with mucosa that helps to protect it from the intense acids it produces to break down food. If you look around the world, squatting is much more common than our more modern, and supposedly superior, porcelain thrones.
Carminatives such as mints, fennel, chamomile, cardamom, and thyme are aromatic herbs that help to expel gas.
Constipation, on the other hand, is when the fecal matter stays in the large intestine too long.
Saliva is mostly made up of water but also includes special enzymes used to break down starches and sugars. This specialized mucosa does not allow for much absorption of nutrients although it does break down some water, some electrolytes, certain drugs (especially aspirin), and alcohol. Most commonly, this can happen from both hyper or hypo tonic tissue, lack of fiber in the diet, dehydration, lack of exercise, or excess mucous. Addressing these issues is much more effective in the long run than laxatives, herbal or otherwise. When inflamed due to chronic inflammatory processes (Crohna€™s disease, celiac disease or ulcers), or acute inflammation (diarrhea, heartburn), demulcent herbs such as marshmallow root and slippery elm can be used to soothe the irritated tissue. Bacteria can become easily imbalanced with the use of antibiotics, diarrhea, poor food choices such as an abundance of sugar, and extreme colon cleansing programs. David Winston recommends that optimal transit time, the time food enters your mouth to the time it leaves your body, is around 12 to 24 hours. Chewing or mastication is a very important first step in changing the food into smaller molecules. How much time your food stays in the stomach depends a lot on the type of food that you ate. Traditional cultures around the world ate small amounts of fermented foods with every meal. To determine your transit time eat a nice serving of cooked beets and then record the time until you notice them on the other end.
It also allows for the mixing of saliva with the food to further break down starches and sugars.
Carbohydrate digestion is really fast and carbs stay in the stomach for the least amount of time, followed by proteins, and then fats. Besides saliva, your tongue, teeth, and gums all play an important role in this mastication process. Knowing how fast your body metabolizes food is part of what can help you to determine which foods work best for you.
Some examples of fermented foods are kim chee, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, beet kvass and many more. Once youa€™ve swallowed your hopefully well-chewed food (called the bolus), it enters the esophagus. For example, if your body has a fast metabolism, eating too many carbohydrates can leave you with frequent hunger and on a roller coaster of fluctuating energy. The esophagus is lined with muscles and the involuntary muscle action of peristalsis helps to move the food down to your stomach.
If, on the other hand, you have a slower metabolism, eating too much fat can leave you feeling too full and heavy long after youa€™ve eaten. This means that you could hypothetically eat while standing on your head, although such an action is not advised or endorsed by this author.
At the bottom of the esophagus is the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a ring-like muscle that creates a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach.
This sphincter relaxes when food enters the stomach, and tightens up again once the food has passed.
Problems arise when this sphincter remains relaxed, allowing for the gastric juices of the stomach to rise into the esophagus, creating what you think would be called esophageal burn but, instead, somebody named it heartburn, overlooking the fact it has nothing to do with your heart. Taking antacids may alleviate the pain for the time being but it also severely hampers digestion, creating even more problems down the line.

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