Nutrition Essay

1514 WordsOct 8, 20127 Pages
Describe the path food follows as it travels through the digestive system. Summarize the major structures and functions of those structures along the way. Any time you take a bite of food it begins its journey through the body, specifically the gastrointestinal tract, and it is fully digested and ready for elimination. If you were to begin with a piece of pizza, the moment you smell your wonderful slice of cheese pizza it begins to stir gastric juices in your stomach. Your stomach may “growl” alerting you that it is hungry and ready to be fed. The GI tract begins with the mouth, down the esophagus, into the stomach, leading to the small intestine, large intestine, and then to the rectum where it begins elimination through the anus. This complete cycle is where the body gains the nutrients it needs from the food you ate and gets rid of the excess or waste products when they are eliminated. The beginning of the cycle is in the mouth. Your teeth will chew the food and mix it with the salivary fluids with the aid of the tongue. The mouth breaks down foods and will make it easier to be swallowed while it goes from the pharynx to the esophagus. The salivary glands secrete saliva that has enzymes to help digest starch and create a bolus, or ball of food, in order to make the process begin. The epiglottis is a thin flap that protects your airways during swallowing so food does not travel to your lungs or obstruct your breathing. The trachea allows air to pass during swallowing so you do not stop breathing while you are eating. Once the bolus gets to the esophagus it travels down into the stomach by passing through the esophageal sphincter which will prevent the food from passing back into the esophagus. The stomach contains acid, fluids, and enzymes which break down the food even further to create a liquid. The liquid known now has gone from a bolus to chyme, and the

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