The digestion of human nutrients is an interesting subject. The human body requires a certain amount of food to grow. In order to grow and be healthy one has to eat the right kinds of food. Nutrients are considered to be chemical substances in our food. They are classified as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. The nutrients are released from our food through digestion.
Digestion will begin when one starts to chew their food causing the release of saliva in their mouths. Saliva is a watery fluid which contains enzymes and certain types of protein which helps to break the food down. The food travels on to the stomach and to the small intestine. There are digestive enzymes and acids that will cause the food to liquefy. This, along with the muscle contractions help to push the food on through the digestive tract. Once the food is going through the digestive tract, the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream and taken to different places in the body.
At different sites there are several chemical reactions that will happen to help the function and growth of the body tissues. Some of the food that is not absorbed will continue to go down the intestinal tract and be eliminated from the body. Those are called feces. After the food has been digested by our bodies, the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins will provide the body with whatever it needs to maintain energy to function.
There are nutrients that are obtained from our food, and there are nutrients that are manufactured in the body. Such as cholesterol; a fat-like substance that is present in animal cells. The essential nutrients are those that we put into our bodies. The food that contains the carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals has to come from the outside.
Each person requires a different amount of nutrients, depending on their age and gender. There are many other factors that cause a demand for more nutrients. The body is made up of 65 percent water. According to how much water is lost daily, one requires 8 to 10 cups to replace what is lost each day. Without water one could not absorb or digest the foods they eat each day. The water also circulates through our blood and lymphatic system transporting the oxygen and the nutrients to cells. The water also removes wastes through urine and sweat. Water is a very important nutrient for our bodies, since it maintains a balance between dissolved salts and water inside and outside of cells. Water is needed in every part of our bodies. Even our joints and soft tissues are dependant on water for the cushioning they need.
Water has no calories. Still it is needed for many things. Water can also be replenished from some food sources. Such as, fruits and vegetables, for instance, are about 80 – 95 percent water. Meats are made up of about 50 percent water. Also grains such as oats or rice contain water.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy. Then the sugar is produced, causing the glucose to maintain tissue protein. The glucose is absorbed through the intestinal wall. Some will go to work on our red blood cells and brain cells while the rest goes to the liver and the muscles. It is stored as animal starch. It is also sent to fat cells where it is stored as fat. It is call glycogen, which is the body’s energy source later converted back into glucose.
The body will break down and absorb complex carbohydrates at a rate which will help to maintain the level of glucose already in the blood. The other thing the body needs to help nutrients through the body is dietary fiber. It is classified as soluble or insoluble. The soluble fiber can be found in foods such as beans, peas, apples, oats, barley, strawberries, and citrus fruits. These foods mix with the food in the stomach preventing or reducing the absorption by the small intestine of dangerous substances from food.
Soluble fiber will also bind to cholesterol and take it out of the body, keeping it from entering the bloodstream. This will also help prevent the accumulation in the inner walls of the arteries preventing a host of diseases. Fiber is also very important for the intestines and colon.
With a proper diet and enough fiber in the diet, waste is moved out of the body faster helping to prevent colon cancer. Proteins are very important compounds which build and repair body tissues, from the muscles, to hair and fingernails. It also fights infection, and transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Experts recommend 10 percent of our caloric intake of protein a day. Protein performs many critical functions in our bodies. Fats are the most concentrated of the energy producing nutrients therefore our bodies need only small amounts. Fat provides 9 calories of energy per gram. It plays an important role in helping the blood to clot and helping to build the membranes that surround our cells. Once it is digested and absorbed it helps the body to absorb certain vitamins. The fat that is stored in our bodies will cushion the vital organs and this protects us from extreme cold and heat.
Much love + health,