Digestive Tract - Research Paper Example

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Digestive Tract Name Professor Institution Course Date Key Words: Digestive Tract, Proteins, Carbohydrates, Digestive system, Colon, Digestion process, 1. The Digestive Tract Digestive system is a tract in which ingested food is broken down via both physical and chemical means to provide the body with absorbable nutrients as well as excrete unwanted products (Burstein, 2009)…
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Digestive Tract Key Words: Digestive Tract, Proteins, Carbohydrates, Digestive system, Colon, Digestion process, 1. The Digestive Tract Digestive system is a tract in which ingested food is broken down via both physical and chemical means to provide the body with absorbable nutrients as well as excrete unwanted products (Burstein, 2009). The system comprises of elementary canal, which extends from mouth to the anus with hormones and enzymes produced from different parts of the entire tract to assist during digestion process. The digestive tract entails salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, gallbladder, rectum, colon, small intestines, pancreas and liver. Along the alimentary canal, there is a smooth lining called the mucosa that assists digestion of food (Burstein, 2009). This is by secreting varied juices, which aid digestion of food along the small intestines, stomach and in the mouth. The main function played by digestive system in human bodies is to break down solid food into tiny particles (Burstein, 2009). This is to enable quick absorption of nutrients through finger like structures called villi found in the capillaries (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). For instance, when one consumes bread and meat, they are not in the right form for the body to absorb its nutrients (Burstein, 2009). Therefore, they ought to change them into smaller molecules to enable effective absorption into the cells, which in turn transmit them throughout the body (Lentle & Janssen, 2011).   2. The Mechanical Aspect of Digestion Mechanical digestion takes place in the mouth whereby saliva, teeth and tongue, play a vital roles in reducing food lumps into manageable sizes (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). Mechanical digestion normally starts in the mouth, which acts as a size reduction unit before other complex processes commences in the body. When one tastes, smells or ingests a loaf of bread in the mouth, salivary glands secrete saliva that softens the bread thus enabling teeth to break it down into smaller pieces. This is by grinding, crushing, slashing and clamping of food to enable it pass smoothly through the esophagus (Burstein, 2009). Swallowing normally encompasses pushing food into the esophagus where it passes through oropharynx and hypopharynx (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). At this point, foodstuff assumes small round forms called bolus and the digestion becomes involuntary (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). A series of muscular contractions called peristalsis transport the food via the rest of the system into the stomach with the aid of sphincter muscle. In the stomach, gastric juices comprises a mixture of hydrochloric acid and pepsin, which break down proteins as well as eliminating harmful bacteria found in the food (Lentle& Janssen, 2011). In addition, strong muscular stomach walls act as a mixer and grinder (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). This is especially during grinding ingested food while enzymes and acids produced by walls digest it chemically (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). A thick liquid called chyne forms in the stomach (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). At this point, the pyloric sphincter valves open allowing chyne to enter into the duodenum where it mixes with acidic enzymes from pancreas and bile from gallbladder.      Once mixing with gallbladder is over, chyme enters into the small intestines where most of the nutrients absorption takes place (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). These nutrients move into the bloodstream and transported into various body tissues. Whatever material is left goes into the large intestine for storage and fermentation (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). Here the colon separates liquid from the waste products until it all solidifies and ready for excretion. 3. The Chemical Aspect of Digestion There are differences evident between chemical and mechanical digestion that takes place in the body of a human being (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). For instance, mechanical process encompasses physical breakdown of large lumps into manageable sizes in the tract system. Mechanical digestion occurs chiefly in the mouth and small portion of it in the stomach (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). In addition, mechanical digestion usually encompasses use of mechanical energy for digestion like the motion involved while chewing and the peristaltic energy of the intestines (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). Mechanical digestion also brings effects of physical changes during the process (Lentle & Janssen, 2011). For instance, chewing converts large sized food particles into manageable sizes, hence facilitating the entire digestion process. Chemical digestion is the process that entails acids, bases and enzymes in the digestive tract (Ireland, 2010). These acids, bases and enzymes emanate from varied body tissues located along the tract. For instance, pancreatic juice originating from pancreas is purposely for converting proteins into acceptable form. Chemical digestion takes place principally in the stomach, to some extent in both the mouth and intestines (Ireland, 2010). In addition, chemical digestion uses chemical energy stored in the enzymes to execute their respective functions. Chemical digestion brings about chemical changes to food (Ireland, 2010). For instance, pepsin converts proteins into smaller peptides and trypsin to amino acids (Ireland, 2010).    Enzymes produced by stomach coupled with acids comprising stomach juices break down starch and other carbohydrates for easy absorption (Ireland, 2010). Pancreatic lipase, phospholipase and cholesterol esterase produced by the pancreas hydrolyze fats as well as breaking down cholesterol (Ireland, 2010). Bile secreted by the liver aids in digestion and absorption of fats (Ireland, 2010). In addition, Proteases enzymes and gastric juice from the pancreas break long chains of proteins into smaller amino acids. 4. Discuss the correlation between food choices and digestive disorders. How can we avoid such disorders? Certain type of foods and beverages cause indigestion because they are irritating to the digestive tract, for instance, alcohol, vinegar, caffeine and spicy foods (Ireland, 2010). Any food, which a human being is sensitive to usually causes inflammatory issues, hence people ought to avoid them. Indigestible food is also not good because it ferments in the small intestines leading to the cause of several digestive disorders and complications (Ireland, 2010). We should often visit nutrition specialist to inquire on proper ways regarding how to avoid digestive disorders. In addition, while taking our meals it is advisable to take a lot of fiber or roughage to avoid constipation and other complications (Ireland, 2010). We should also drink a lot of water after every meal to make digestion take place smoothly, though after sometime. In addition, it is advisable when taking our meals to avoid fatty foods because they are harder to digest and usually cause stomach pains (Ireland, 2010). References Burstein, J. (2009). The Dynamic Digestive System: How Does My Stomach Work? New York: Crabtree Publishing Company. Ireland, A.K. (2010). Visualizing Human Biology. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Lentle, R. G. & Janssen, W.M. P. (2011). The Physical Processes of Digestion, New York: Springer publishing company. Read More
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