The moment food enters your mouth, that miraculous tube that runs from "gum to bum" kicks into action. In addition to converting food into fuel for your body, your digestive tract helps protects you from infection and illness, influences mood and energy, and helps keep you strong, health and resilient -- all things we believe are certainly worth being thankful for!
Because your digestive tract is vital to your overall health, it is important that you understand it. So, let's examine the journey that a thanksgiving favourite like pumpkin pie takes as it makes its way through your digestive tract...
- Your mouth is where the journey begins but even before you start eating, just smelling a piece of pumpkin pie can make your mouth water! Saliva will welcome that first bite by drenching it with water, electrolytes, mucus, proteins, and enzymes. A good Thanksgiving tip is to chew all your food well and at a moderate pace to help improve digestion and reduce flatulence and bloating!
- Your stomach is a j-shaped organ that mixes and churns that well-chewed piece of pie into a fluid-like mass of partly digested food called chyme. Lucky for dessert lovers, our stomachs have a unique ability to expand and contract to accommodate varying amounts of food. This is because its inner layer is full of wrinkles called rugae that expand the volume of the stomach and help move digested food out of your stomach and on to the next step of the journey.
- Small intestine mixes food with digestive juices from the pancreases and liver and pushes it onward. This hardworking area of the digestive tract is responsible for absorbing about 90% of the nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) that fuel your body!
Learn more about the amazing system that fuels your life here.
- Large intestine hosts the final stage of digestion where water and vitamins are absorbed and that once tasty treat now forms into feces. Muscular contractions, known as peristalsis, move waste along the large intestine before it exits the body with a glorious splash! And that is the end of the gum to bum journey!