Digestion and absorption are two processes which take place in the digestive tract of the body of human beings. Both processes enable a man to benefit from the food that he eats. This write up discusses the purpose and functions of the digestive tract and how it is involved in the absorption and digestion of food. It also compares the mechanical and chemical aspects of digestion providing description of the mechanical digestion of starch, and the functions of enzymes, as well as other gastric fluids. Finally, the paper discusses the correlation between the food choices and the digestive disorders.
According to Ballard, (2009), digestion is the process during which the human body breaks down and absorbs the nutrients in it with the help of the digestive system. The Digestive system of human beings majorly consists of the digestive tract which is a combination of hollow organs joined in a tube right from the mouth to the anus. It also entails other organs that help the body in the digestion of food. The digestive tract is made up of the mouth and the small and large intestine. The other components include the esophagus and the anus. The main purpose and functions of human digestive system are to break down the food particles taken in the body so that they can be in the form that can be absorbed into the blood.
Digestive Tract on Digestion and Absorption
Digestion of food begins from the mouth where the food is chewed and affected by the salivary amylase which further breaks down starch into much smaller particles. The resulting particles are swallowed into the esophagus, which then pushes them to the stomach through the help of the rhythmic muscle movement called peristalsis (Ballard, 2009). Once the food enters the stomach, it is churned and bathed in gastric acid and partly digested resulting into chime. From the stomach, the food then enters the small intestines where its particles are further broken down by the help of bile, pancreatic enzymes, and the other digestive enzymes.
Finally, the particles enter the large intestines, where some of the water and electrolytes, present in the particles, are removed and food is digested further. From here, the solid waste is obtained and stored in the rectum until it is excreted from the body through the anus (Ballard, 2009).
The Chemical and Mechanical Digestion
Mechanical digestion refers to the physical break down of food into smaller pieces. This takes place through chewing in the mouth and the peristalsis process. On the other hand, chemical digestion is the chemical breakdown of food particles by the help of the enzymes like the salivary amylase (Ballard, 2009).
Mechanical Digestion of Starch
Starch digestion starts right from the mouth where the food is chewed and broken into smaller particles. It is meant to expose more of the surface of the food particles to the chemical digestion. The saliva in the mouth then moistens the particles to aid their movement down to the esophagus which through the relaxation of the cardiac sphincter muscles releases the particles to the stomach (Jakab, 2006). However, the starch is not broken down in the stomach, and is moved downwards to the small intestines by the help of wave-like contractions for the chemical processes.
The enzymes and the gastric fluids in the digestive system of the body assist in breaking down the sugar, starch, fiber fat, and protein by mixing with the food particles and breaking them down into smaller absorbable molecules (Jakab, 2006).
Correlation between Food Choices and Digestive Disorders
According to Jakab (2006), the various types of foods we eat cause us some disorders in the digestive system. A good example is the Gastreosophageal reflux disease which affects the valves between the esophagus and the stomach. This leads to the backflow of the hydrochloric acid and other contents of the stomach and hence heartburn. This is caused by the persistent consumption of light food. Its digestion occurs very fast, hence, leaving the stomach empty for very long. Other disorders related to what one eats are the Gurgling noise and belching caused by chewing of gums which allows incoming of a lot of air into the stomach. It is also caused by extensive consumption of carbonated products (Sizer & Whitney, 2011).
In order to avoid these stomach disorders, a healthy diet should be kept and also one should avoid over consumption of food.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the human digestive system is very important for ones health, and so it should not be overworked by irresponsible eating habits.