The digestive system is made up of many more parts than is commonly believed. For example, until now parts such as the brain, eyes and lungs were not taken into account when digestion, but the truth is that recent studies have shown that these organs are more involved in the digestive system than what it was thought.
If you want to know what the parts of the digestive system are, in this article we explain everything you need to know.
Parts of the complete digestive system
Officially and in summary, the parts of our digestive system are:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
On the other hand, there are other secondary organs that also intervene quite directly in digestion, such as:
- Salivary glands
Next, we will explain each one of them in detail.
Sight and the digestive system
Although many may not believe it, in digestion, everything begins with sight. The eyes are one of the most important organs in our body, since they not only fulfill the function of seeing what is happening around us, but they are also responsible for sending relevant information to our brain.
What is the function of the eyes
Our body knows what it likes to eat and what it doesn’t. It may be surprising to learn that the question of appetite and taste is dictated, above all, by our brain and our gut bacteria, but we will talk about this later.
With our eyes, the digestive system begins to prepare: our mouth begins to salivate, the intestinal bacteria begin to revolutionize and our stomach prepares its gastric juices and begins to carry out the first movements, as if stretching and stretching before the big marathon.
Therefore, if you have digestion problems, it is highly recommended that you prepare your dishes calmly, contemplating one by one all the ingredients that you are adding, so that your body prepares and knows in advance what it is going to receive. Many times, indigestion is due to eating without paying attention to what we eat, therefore our digestive system receives the food with some surprise and tries how it can to carry out its function.
The brain and digestion
The brain is another of those responsible for the proper function of the digestive system. The brain, itself, has stored a whole series of information due to our experiences with food. If you know that something tends to make you feel bad, let our digestive system know that it does not want to receive that food.
However, as we said, sight informs the brain of what the body is going to ingest, and then it gives the warning to the rest of the digestive system to begin preparing for digestion. This is a very important process, since this way our digestion will be much more pleasant and complete.
Also, although this is not a novelty, it is necessary to remember that in eating disorders, the brain is the main responsible for these diseases to occur.
The lungs and digestive system
This may be more shocking than knowing that the eyes and brain influence digestion. However, what role do the lungs play in digestion? Although the lungs belong more properly to the respiratory system, it also has a special link with the digestive system.
The lungs are responsible for obtaining the necessary oxygen for our cells to function perfectly, in addition to removing carbon dioxide from our body. That is, allowing the enzymes (found in our small intestine) to work perfectly. In the same way, if our cells stopped working properly, our body would not be able to collect nutrients from food or distribute them throughout the rest of our body. In short, without the help of the lungs we could neither digest well nor nourish ourselves from food.
What is the function of the mouth
And here we would start with the first official organ of the digestive system: the mouth. The tongue, teeth and saliva (produced by the salivary glands) form an unrivaled team when it comes to digesting. The tongue pushes the food towards the teeth, they grind it to make the task easier for the stomach, and the saliva envelops the food so that it can go down the esophagus and pharynx correctly, until it reaches the stomach.
What’s more, the act of salivating itself causes the stomach to start working. For this reason, many times we can take away our hunger with a simple chewing gum, since the salivation that occurs in this act tricks the stomach into thinking that it is going to receive food or that it is already receiving it.
Parts of the digestive tract
The digestive tract is made up of the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus.
- Stomach: this organ is in charge of “grinding” the food eaten. The shape of the stomach is due, precisely, to make it easier to move and push the food from one side to the other to crumble it with the gastric juices.
- Small intestine– This is where digestion really begins. Enzymes are found in the small intestine, which are responsible for dividing food. In food intolerances, this is where the problem begins.
- Large intestine: everything that escapes into the small intestine is “eaten” by the large intestine. Literally. Thousands of bacteria live in the large intestine that are responsible for taking advantage of everything that the small intestine has not been able to break down. Hence, many times we have gas when we have eaten something that has not done us very well.
- Anus: The anus is the final organ of the digestive system. It is responsible for expelling the remains of food from the body, that is, everything that has not been able to take advantage of to get energy. The color that defecations acquire, however, is mainly due to the work of intestinal bacteria. That is why if the color is not the usual one, it is possible that there is some type of infection or that one of our bacteria does not work properly.
The pancreas and intestinal bacteria
It is interesting to make a special mention of intestinal bacteria, which have a fundamental role in our health, but often go unnoticed.
What are bacteria and what are they for?
The first thing is to know what bacteria are. Bacteria are living microorganisms that are responsible for digesting our food and that are usually called intestinal flora. This name was received at the beginning, when these tiny beings were not really known, which, to the microscopic view (which at that time could not see things as small as now), really looked like that: a field full of vegetation. However, today, knowing what and how bacteria are, they are called micro biota or intestinal micro biota, whose function is key in our digestion. We could say, in this sense, that who does the true digestion is not an organ, but the bacteria that inhabit us.
Each bacterium feeds on certain things, that is: not all bacteria are responsible for extracting the nutrients from meat, vegetables, or nuts. That is why, the more you eat a certain food, the more bacteria you will have in charge of shredding that type of food. What does this mean? That if, for example, you only eat meat, your body (your bacteria) will end up asking for only meat, since every time you will have fewer bacteria in charge of other types of food, which could even make you feel bad due to the lack of those bacteria. Therefore, it is extremely important that you eat as balanced a diet as possible. Read the following article if you want to know what the types of intestinal bacteria are.
What is the function of the pancreas
For a long time it has been thought that the pancreas had no function in our body. However, recent studies carried out in Germany have shown that the pancreas is in charge of repopulating the intestinal micro biota when infections and / or other abnormalities have occurred in our intestines.
What is the role of the liver in digestion
Once food has been converted into sugars, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients, they are sent to the liver through the blood. Here, the liver makes a selection of the most important, especially what is obtained after digestion: it directs toxins into the urine or feces and manages the rest of the nutrients that are beneficial to our health.
The liver is, therefore, a great organ managing what is good and bad of what has been obtained from digestion.
Now that you know what the parts of the digestive system are, you may also be interested in this other article on Can you live without a stomach?