Digestion is the breakdown of food into smaller components that can be easily absorbed by the bloodstream. In our human body there is proper digestive system i.e. some group of organs work together and convert food into energy. The organs that participates in the digestion process include gastrointestinal tract which is a very long tube.
So we can say that the process of digestion takes place in the gastrointestinal tract, a long, connected, tubular structure that starts from the mouth and ends with the anus. This article deals with the organs that participate in the process of digestion along with some accessory glands associated with it.
Organs that help in Digestion Process
Various organs are associated with the Digestion process or Human Digestive System: Mouth, Oesophagus or Food Pipe, Stomach, Small Intestine and Large Intestine.
Food is ingested to mouth. The Buccal cavity or mouth consists of teeth, tongue and salivary glands. With the help of teeth, physical digestion of food takes place which helps the food to cut into small pieces, chews and grind it. Further salivary glands present in the mouth helps in the chemical digestion of food with the help of enzymes. It contains enzymes known as salivary amylase which digest the starch present in food into sugar. We can say that the digestion of carbohydrate or starch begins in the mouth itself. But the digestion of food remains incomplete in the mouth.
2. Oesophagus or Food Pipe
The slightly digested food goes to stomach through the Food Pipe or Oesophagus. With the help of peristaltic movement food is pushed inside the stomach. The contraction and expansion of the movement of the walls of the food pipe after entering the slightly digested food is known as peristaltic movement.
Do you know that food is churned in the stomach for three hours? In the stomach, food further breaks into smaller pieces and forms a semi-solid paste. Glands that are present in the walls of stomach secrete gastric juice and contain three substances hydrochloric acid, enzyme pepsin and mucus. The protein digestion begins in the stomach only with the help of pepsin enzyme.
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4. Small Intestine
The small intestine is a long, thin tube about 1 inch in diameter and about 10 feet long. It is located just inferior to the stomach and takes up most of the space in the abdominal cavity.
With the help of ‘sphincter muscle’ food from the stomach releases in small amounts into the small intestine. Do you know that the largest part of the alimentary canal is small intestine? It is the organ of human body where complete digestion of food like carbohydrates, proteins and fats takes place. The small intestine receives the secretions of two glands that is liver and pancreas and helps in the digestion of food. Even intestinal juice also helps in the carbohydrate digestion. After digestion the molecules of food become small and pass through the small intestine and goes into our blood. Here, the digested food is also absorbed.
5. Large Intestine
The large intestine is a long, thick tube about 2.5 inches in diameter and about 5 feet long. It is located just inferior to the stomach and wraps around the superior and lateral border of the small intestine.
A part of the food which cannot be digested by our body or cannot be absorbed by small intestine passes into the large intestine. The wall of intestine absorbs most of the water from the food and makes it solid. Rectum is the last part of the large intestine where this solid food for some time is stored and egested from our body through the anus as faeces or stool.
Apart from this, three associated digestive glands which are instrumental in the process of digestion are: Pancreas, Liver and Gallbladder.
Pancreas: It is known for blood sugar regulatory function with the production of insulin. Digestive enzymes are secreted by the pancreas, released into the small intestine and helps in the digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Liver: It produces bile juice which secretes enzymes and help in the digestion of fat.
Gallbladder: When fatty food enters the small intestine, the gallbladder contracts and releases bile which is stored in it.
From the article we have learnt about the organs that helps in the process of Human Digestion.