Thursday October 1, 2020
What is the digestive system?
The digestive system helps to move food and liquid through the GI tract breaking it down along the way. Once foods are broken down, your body can absorb the nutrients.
- Proteins break into amino acids
- Fats break into fatty acids and glycerol
- Carbohydrates break into simple sugars
How does the digestive system work?
Food moves through your GI tract by a process called peristalsis.
Did you know? Nerves tell your brain when you see or smell food to trigger your mouth to water, preparing your digestive system to receive food.
Mouth. The digestive process begins in your mouth when you chew. Glands in your mouth make saliva. Saliva contains an enzyme that breaks down starches in your food making it easier to digest later on in the digestive process. This is why many nutritionists recommend chewing your food well before swallowing to start the digestive process.
Stomach. After swallowing food, it travels down the esophagus and enters the stomach. The stomach muscles mix the food with the digestive juices/acid. This process breaks down the food into easily absorbable portions (also called chyme). The chyme then travels to the intestines.
Small intestine. The small intestine mixes food with digestive juices and enzymes from the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. The small intestine absorbs water and the digested nutrients into your bloodstream for further use. As peristalsis continues, the leftover waste products from the food you eat move to the large intestine.
Large intestine. Bacteria in your large intestine helps break down remaining nutrients and produce vitamin K. Waste products of digestion, including parts of food that are still too large, become stool.
Did you know? The digestive system can vary in length from person to person but can be from about 25 to 28 feet long!
How to care for your digestive system
- The more colorful your plate, the more flavonoids and antioxidants you are consuming
- Ensure you have a fruit or a vegetable every time you eat.
Quality matters over quantity
Even those of us who eat primarily fruits and veggies aren’t off the hook! Industrial agriculture is also slowly draining nutrients from America’s soil, spraying toxic chemicals, and polluting our water sources, with the result that even fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as nutritious as they were when your parents were children.
Only by knowing your farmer and understanding the practices they use to ensure fertile soil and low contamination can you trust that your food is really safe, sustainably grown, and maximally nutritious. We know most of you don’t live in Hawaii, which is why we publish so much information about our farm and our farming practices on our blog!
“You are what you eat” but you are also what you feed your plants. On our 70-acre certified organic family farm, the organic growing methods used make healthy soil, healthy plants and trees that produce the maximum nutritional value in the fruit.