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Digestive System: Glossary

A

abdomen
the major portion of the body between the chest and hips
absorbed
to soak up, take in
allergy
a negative reaction to a foreign substance
amino acids
carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen; the building blocks of protein
antacids
a medicine that helps to change the acidity of stomach acid
anus
the portion of the body where feces is expelled
appendectomy
the operation in which the appendix is removed
appendicitis
the illness caused when the appendix becomes infected
appendix
a finger sized organ in the lower portion of the large intestine
avian
related to birds

B

bacteria
single celled organisms
bile
a chemical used in the digestion of fats
bloodstream
organs of the body in which blood flows
bolus
chewed up food mass
bowel movement
the last stop in the movement of food through the digestive tract, as stool passes out of the body through the rectum and anus

C

calories
how energy in food is measured
carbohydrates
sugars and starches
chemicals
a basic substance that has a reaction with other substances
chyme
fluid consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food, produced in the stomach and passed to the small intestine
colon
large intestine
constipation
feces gets hard and is difficult to push out
crop
a temporary food storage organ in a bird
cud
partly digested food that is re-chewed

D

diabetes
the body's inability to produce insulin
diarrhea
feces gets too soft and can even be runny
duct
an entry location

E

enzymes
protein created by a cell for a particular body function
epiglottis
a flap of cartilage that covers over the windpipe when swallowing
esophagus
a vertical tube that goes from mouth to stomach

F

fats
nutrients in food used as a fuel source for the body and to build cell membranes and nerve tissue. Fat cells are the major storage form of energy in the body
feces
body waste, poop
fibers
parts of food that help clean the colon; rough, indigestible parts such as the stringy parts of celery or the outside of corn kernels
fibrous
having a texture like fiber
food allergy
an unpleasant or dangerous reaction of the body's immune system after a certain food is eaten
food sensitivity
a reaction to some foods

G

gall bladder
an organ that stores bile for digestion of fats
gas
gas in your digestive tract, composed of air and other gases, leaves your digestive tract through your mouth when you burp, or through your anus when you pass gas
gastric juices
stomach acids that are emitted to help with digestion
gastroenterologists
medical doctors who specialize in treating disorders of the digestive system
GER
gastroesophageal reflux, which happens when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus and cause uncomfortable heartburn. If GER happens frequently and causes other health problems, it is called GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease
gizzard
a muscular organ of a bird's digestive system where food is ground using rocks or other hard material like grit

H

heartburn
the burning feeling caused when stomach acid enters the esophagus

I

immune system
the body system that fights and protects against infections
infection
(infected) when germs, viruses or bacteria become overgrown and cause illness
insulin
a hormone that helps regulate sugars in the body
invading organisms
germs, bacteria, viruses or chemicals that attack body cells and systems

L

large intestine
also called the colon - organ in the digestive system that removes excess water and a few waste products
liver
large organ of the body that has many purposes, produces bile to aid in digestion

M

minerals
inorganic substances necessary for living organisms; calcium, iron, copper, zinc, etc.
monogastric
one stomach
mucus
slimy material secreted by the body

N

nausea
sick feeling, urge to vomit
nutrients
the necessary parts of food used for energy and growth

P

pancreas
gland that sends hormones to regulate body functions; insulin is produced here
peristalsis
the waves of movement of the digestive organs that move food from mouth to rectum
projections
objects that stick out into a pathway
proteins
building blocks of muscle
pseudo ruminant
animals that eat large amounts of fiber but, unlike ruminants, have only a three-chambered stomach and do not regurgitate their food

R

rectum
last part of the large intestine
regurgitate
to bring food that has been swallowed back up into the mouth
ruminant
digestive system with multiple stomach chambers or parts

S

saliva
spit
saliva gland
organ that stores saliva
small intestine
part of the digestive system where nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream
sphincter
a muscle that controls the flow of food, chyme, and feces
stool
body waste, poop

V

vertebrate
animals that have backbones inside their bodies
villi
hair-like parts of the small intestine that help move nutrients into the bloodstream
vitamins
natural substance necessary for growth and health
vomiting
throwing up

W

wheat gluten
a type of protein found in wheat
windpipe
the trachea or tube that moves air from the mouth and nose to the lungs

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