Your Food’s Journey: A Memoir

It is likely rather apparent that I enjoy eating, considering how many posts I have created addressing the topic of food. I was curious to know what exactly happens to food as it passes through the body, and since my grade eleven biology class is not exactly coherent in my mind, I managed to come across a summary of the entire process via http://www.innerbody.com/image/digeov.html.

Obviously food begins its journey in the mouth. Teeth smoosh and smash food until it is small enough to swallow, and saliva moistens the tongue in order for the food to travel down the throat and eventually the esophagus.

The throat, medically acknowledged as the Pharynx, is what pushes food from the mouth to the esophagus. A big round applause for this guy. He does a lot of the grunt work.

Once through the Pharynx (look at me go), food passes through the esophagus which is essentially a huge muscular tube that gives food a passage to the stomach. Think of it like one of those slides at carnivals. At the end of the esophagus there is a muscular ring recognized as esophageal/cardiac sphincter which opens and closes like a trap door, permitting food to enter the stomach and preventing it from exiting and traveling back up the esophagus (which we know as acid reflux).

Now that the food is in the stomach, it interacts with acids and enzymes that break food down further so it can be properly digested.

From the stomach the glob of what was once food greets the small intestine which is basically a long maze of tubes that extract nutrients from the food and allow them to be absorbed into the bloodstream. This guy is big – he takes up most of the space in the abdominal cavity, or as I like to refer to it as, the gut.

Now the glob meets the liver and furthermore the gallbladder. The liver is a Tupperware container for all of the crap that generates in the body, and the gallbladder is like an extra Tupperware container. The gallbladder can be a real bitch sometimes, though. Occasionally she throws a fit because she wants out.

Next the food encounters the pancreas, which basically oozes digestive enzymes into the small intensive in order to encourage the chemical digestion of the glob we formerly knew as food.

Now we meet the large intestine, which is approximately 5 feet long. This guy means business. He absorbs water and excretes bacteria that aids in decomposing waste. This waste is what we know as poop, and from the large intestine the poop exits the body through means of the anal canal, which is elegantly titled excretion.

There we have it! A memoir of food’s journey through the body. Keep this complicated and intense process in mind next time you’re eating – it’s actually pretty neat.

 

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