Lesson 6: The Digestive System (page 1 of 8)

Overview of Lesson 6 The Digestive System

The body is built, fueled, and maintained by about a half ton of food per year. This fuel should be selected carefully to provide maximum performance. But having the right kind of fuel is not enough, the foods we eat must be properly digested and assimilated in order to provide the raw materials and energy our bodies require.

The digestive system is responsible for the breakdown of our food and the assimilation of the nutrients that are essential for life. If this system is not functioning properly, even the best nutrients will do us little or no good. Various secretions of the digestive system—most notably the enzymes—provide the spark that breaks down our foods into compounds that the body can absorb and use.


The Anatomy and Physiology of Digestion

The digestive process begins with the senses. When we see and smell food, especially when we are hungry, our mouths begin to “water.” Saliva is secreted into the mouth from salivary glands located in the cheeks and jaw. Saliva contains the first enzymes that will act upon our food.

The first step of digestion is mastication, the chewing process. The food particles must be broken down into very tiny pieces and mixed with saliva in order for the enzymes to do their job. Many digestive disturbances could be avoided with proper chewing. In our fast-paced society most people eat too fast and swallow their food without proper mastication. When chewed properly food will be in an almost liquid form when swallowed.

True of False:
Many digestive disturbances of modern society could be avoided with the proper chewing of our food.


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