Cool Digestive System Facts

Learning digestive system facts is the best way to understand the importance of how the food you eat makes an impact on your body. From the teeth to the anus, the digestive system is full of mucous, muscles, acid, gas and waste. Before you get grossed out about these digestive system facts, remember that it's because of this system that your body gets all the nutrients and vitamins it needs to stay healthy.

Saliva

  • Adults make around 2 pints of saliva each day.
  • Saliva is made up of 98 percent water and 2 percent enzymes.
  • Saliva can be tested for a variety of different health issues, as more than 90 percent of systemic diseases affect the mouth and saliva in some way.

Esophagus

  • At 10 inches long, the esophagus is a long muscle-lined tube.
  • The muscles in the esophagus force food toward the stomach, so even if a person is upside down, the food would still get from mouth to stomach.
  • A little flap at the top of the esophagus, known as the epiglottis, closes over the trachea (wind pipe) to prevent food from going "down the wrong pipe."

Stomach

  • The stomach is made of three different layers of muscle.
  • It is shaped like the letter J.
  • Food remains in the stomach for just 3 to 4 hours.
  • To keep the stomach from digesting itself, it produces a mucous layer every two weeks.

Intestines

  • The small intestine is just over 20 feet long and is about 2 inches around.
  • The large intestine is about 5 feet long and around 4 inches wide.
  • The small intestine's job is to break down food so the body can absorb nutrients-90 percent of the absorption process takes place there.
  • It takes about 4 hours for food to travel through the small intestine.

Anus

  • An anal escape of intestinal gas is a fart.
  • Anal sphincter muscles hold the anus closed until it is time to eliminate waste.
  • When the veins surrounding the anus receive increased pressure, hemorrhoids can form.
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