A Balanced Diet Essay

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A Balanced Diet
The Structure and Function of the Digestive System
The human digestive system is adapted to an omnivorous diet.   The human digestive system consists of an alimentary canal, which is approximately eight metres long.   The alimentary canal carries out digestion, absorption and egestion.   The overall function of the digestive system is to break down the large molecules in food such as protein and starch into their monomers-amino acids and sugar so that they can be absorbed easily into the body ( (Boyle & Senior, 2008).   Before your body can start to absorb any nutrients from your diet food has to be broken down by your digestive system.   If you begin with a good healthy diet and all goes well in your digestive system process, food digestion turns food into nutrition.   Protein, fat and carbohydrates are broken down into very simple substances, such as fatty acids, simple sugars and amino acids.   However if you do not eat a balanced diet this could lead to the lack of the essential nutrients that the body needs to function as efficiently as it should, leading to malnutrition.   A lack of nutrients in the body can be caused by a number of circumstances and conditions.
The diagram on page two shows you the Structure of the human digestive system.   To help us understand how the many parts of the digestive system work here is an overview of the structure and function of this complex system.
The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract. Chewing breaks down the food into small pieces that are more easily digested, saliva mixes with the food so it can begin the process of breaking it down into a form that the body can absorb and use.   The food travels down the oesophagus which is pushed along by a series of muscular contractions called peristalsis. The food is then delivered into the stomach; this is a hollow organ that holds the food while it is being mixed with enzymes that continue the process of breaking down the food into a usable form....

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