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How your digestive system works - Emma Bryce

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Constantly churning inside of you, the digestive system performs a daily marvel: it transforms your food into the vital nutrients that sustain your body and ensure your survival. Emma Bryce traces food’s nine-meter-long, 40-hour journey through the remarkable digestive tract.

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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Director Jeremy Jusay
  • Producer Aaron Augenblick
  • Animator Jeremy Jusay
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
The digestive system is a marvel of evolution. The NIH provides a helpful overview on its different parts and how they all work together. If you want more detail on the individual organs, see these sources about the gastrointestinal tract, the long organ that incorporates the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine and large intestine, anus and rectum. Then there’s also the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, each playing their vital parts in breaking food down. You can also learn more about the recently distinguished mesentery organ, which acts as a scaffold for the various parts of the digestive system.

And of course, don’t forget your mouth--the gaping hole through which all food enters in the first place! The mouth is a fascinating organ in and of itself, not least because its internal salivary glands produce so much saliva on a daily basis, which moistens the food and acts as a vehicle for the enzymes that break it down.

Here you can read about all of the enzymes--and their different roles--in the whole digestive process. You may also be interested in learning more about the fascinating green liquid known as bile--and what it means when you vomit it up when you’re ill.

The digestive system’s main role is to provide your body with nutrients in an absorbable form: here’s how it does that and here's another source that explains the small intestine’s starring role in that process. You might want to go a step further and understand how the body uses the nutrients given to it through digestion, and what kinds of foods provide the different types of nutrients.

If you’re in the mood to watch more videos, consider this one about how the food you eat affects your brain, or this one about how your body makes the distinct calculation that tells you when you’re full.

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Director Jeremy Jusay
  • Producer Aaron Augenblick
  • Animator Jeremy Jusay
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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