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GlossaryThe Digestive System is the group of organs that break down food into smaller particles, or molecules, for use in the human body. This breakdown makes it possible for the smaller digested particles to pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. The particles are then distributed to nourish all parts of the body. Unusable materials are disposed of as solid and liquid waste.
Mouth: Working together with your teeth, the mouth grinds food and mixes it with saliva. The mouth is where digestion begins and "solid food" is changed into "chewed food".
Salivary glands: These glands make saliva which contains an enzyme that changes some of the starches in the food to sugar
Epiglottis: Flap that closes windpipe during swallowing
Trachea (Windpipe): Not part of the digestive system. Shown here with reference to the epiglottis
Esophagus or Oesophagus: Also known as the gullet. It is a tough, muscular tube that pushes food from the mouth to the stomach by contractions of its walls.
Stomach: Makes digestive juices called gastric juices, which break down "chewed food" into "partly digested food" before it goes to the small intestine for final digestion. Gastric juices are stored in tiny sacs (or bags) in the lining of the stomach. The stomach also serves as a storage tank for food.
Small intestine: Fluids from the liver and pancreas dilute and further digest the "partly digested food". "Digested food", now in a liquid form, is absorbed into the bloodstream through the tiny blood vessels in the small intestine walls. The "indigestible food" goes on to the large intestine.
Pancreas: Makes enzymes that break down all types of food. The pancreas sends enzymes and digestive juices into the small intestine to help reduce food to a liquid form.
Liver: Produces and discharges bile, a greenish-yellow digestive fluid. Bile travels from the liver to the small intestine, where it aids in the digestion of fats. The liver stores food which it releases into the blood whenever the body needs it. Also changes some digested food into compounds needed by the body's cells.
Gallbladder: A pear-shaped pouch that lies under the liver. Extra bile is stored here in the gallbladder. Bile aids digestion by breaking up large molecules of fatty foods.
Large intestine: Fluids are absorbed from "indigestible food" which becomes "solid waste". The large intestine stores the waste material until the body is ready to get rid of it.
Appendix: A small, worm-shaped organ attached to the large intestine. It does not seem to serve any purpose in the human body.
Anus: End of digestive tract, where food wastes leave the body
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