Understanding the Human Digestive System

Understanding the Human Digestive System

The human digestive system plays an important role in digesting food and drinks into energy and various types of nutrients that the body needs. Not only that, this organ system also functions to remove toxic substances and food waste through feces or feces.

The human digestive system functions to process the food and drinks consumed into nutrients and energy. Both are needed for metabolic processes, repair of cells and body tissues, as well as daily activities, such as moving, breathing, studying, and working.

Organs in the Human Digestive System

In order to be processed into energy and various nutrients, such as amino acids, glucose, and fatty acids, food and drinks that enter the body need to be processed first. This process takes place in the digestive system.

The following are some of the organs of the body that are included in the human digestive system and their functions:

1. Mouth

The human digestive process begins when food is bitten, chewed, and mashed in the mouth. Food mixed with saliva will be broken down into smaller pieces by the teeth so that it becomes soft and easy to swallow.

The tongue also plays a role in directing food in the mouth to be bitten by the teeth and pushing it into the esophagus to be swallowed.

2. Esophagus

Swallowed food and drink will pass through the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that is about 25 cm long and serves to transport food and drink from the mouth to the stomach.

In this canal, there are special valve-like muscles called the lower esophageal sphincter. This valve serves to ensure that food or drink that has reached the stomach does not go back up into the esophagus or mouth.

3. Stomach

After receiving food and drink, the stomach will secrete acids and enzymes to continue the digestive process. In addition to breaking down food, the stomach will also kill microorganisms that may be present in the food or drink.

In the stomach, food will be made into a concentrated liquid or in the form of a paste and will then be pushed into the small intestine.

4. Pancreas

Not only serves to produce insulin, the pancreas is also in charge of producing digestive enzymes, such as lipase, protease, and amylase. The enzyme will be released by the pancreas and mixed with digestive enzymes from the stomach.

Lipase enzymes function to digest fats into fatty acids, proteases to digest proteins into amino acids, while amylase to break down carbohydrates into glucose.

5. Gallbladder

The liver or liver will produce bile, then store it in the gallbladder. Bile fluid consists of cholesterol, bile salts, bilirubin, water, and minerals, such as potassium and sodium. This fluid serves to digest fats into fatty acids.

When the process of digestion of food takes place, bile will be flowed into the small intestine.

6. Small intestine

Food that has become a paste or chyme in the stomach will be pushed into the small intestine. This movement called intestinal peristalsis occurs due to the contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue in the walls of the small intestine.

The small intestine itself consists of 3 parts, namely the duodenum (intestine 12 fingers), jejunum (empty intestine), and ileum (last part of the small intestine). These three parts of the small intestine have their respective duties in processing food.

The duodenum is responsible for continuing the process of breaking down food, while the jejunum and ileum are responsible for the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.

7. Large intestine

After being processed into various nutrients that are absorbed by the body, digested food will leave residue or waste called feces (feces). The large intestine will push the food waste into the rectum, which is the last stop in the digestive tract.

When the rectum is full and the stool is ready to pass through the anus, you will feel heartburn and an urge to defecate.

The process of processing and digesting food to become feces generally takes approximately 30-40 hours.

How to Maintain Digestive System Health

The human digestive system must be healthy in order to function properly in processing food. However, the gastrointestinal tract can also experience disorders that cause several diseases, such as ulcers, stomach acid disease, diarrhea, constipation, to hemorrhoids.

If disturbances in the digestive system are not treated immediately, over time the process of absorption of nutrients in the body will be disrupted. This can cause you to be malnourished or undernourished.

Therefore, you need to always maintain a healthy digestive system by doing the following tips:
  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day.
  • Expand the consumption of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Stay away from alcoholic drinks and cigarettes.
  • Limit consumption of foods high in cholesterol.
  • Take probiotics.
  • Do regular health checks to the doctor.
The human digestive system is one of the organ systems that have important functions. Thanks to the work of this organ system, you can get nutrients and energy from the food and drinks you consume.

If you still have questions about the human digestive system or experience symptoms of digestive disorders, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and bloody stools, immediately consult a doctor.