The human body is a fascinating apparatus, particularly the digestive system. It converts the food we eat into nutrients for energy, growth, and cell repair. But it’s a messy, skeevy process, one rarely discussed in polite conversation. Fortunately, I’m not polite and this isn’t conversation, it’s a monologue.
There are actually two types of digestion: mechanical (chewing) and chemical (enzymes). And the process begins with your first whiff of something delicious or clapping eyes on a favorite food. You start salivating and digestive operations kick in to prepare for that first bite. You eat until you’re full and go back to business.
Your body, however, spends the next day or so converting and transporting the food you just ate. It’s quite a rigmarole and involves the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas, in addition to the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon). Here are a few of the more interesting details:
℘ Transit time, from eating to elimination, averages 30 to 50 hours — shorter for kids.
℘ The entire digestive system from entry (the mouth) to exit (the toilet) is about 30 feet
℘ Food doesn’t need gravity to reach the stomach; the muscles in your esophagus push the food along in a wavelike manner called peristalsis.
℘ Our salivary glands produce 1.5 ± liters of saliva daily to assist in the swallowing process.
℘ Once swallowed, it takes about 7 seconds for food to travel through the esophagus and land in the stomach.
℘ When empty, an adult stomach has a very small volume, but can expand to hold 1.5 litres of food when full.
Nevertheless, try as I might, there are some things I just can’t swallow no matter how hard I try: oysters, head cheese, and Trump as president. Nope. Can’t. Won’t. Go to happy place … sandy beach, blue sky, palm trees, pool boys …
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