HOW OUR STOMACH WORKS

Some children don’t like ice cream, but love spinach. Some children like bananas, but not peanut butter. Animals, too, have their own special likes and dislikes when it comes to what they eat. Why do we like some foods and not others? Well, we all have little sputa on our tongues that we call taste buds. They are responsible for giving us the carious tastes we have. Without them, foods would have very little taste.

In fact, almost everything would taste just about the same. How would you like it if cereal tasted like applesauce, or if peas tasted like grapes? Now, a child’s buds may like the taste of one particular food but not that of another. Although sometimes a preference for one food over another is the result of an attitude, everyone’s taste buds are different, so that even sisters and brothers may not like the same foods.

It’s nice that we really don’t have to eat things we don’t like, even if they happen to be good for us. This is because there are enough different foods whose taste we do enjoy that are also good for us. Did you know that some children become big and healthy grownups without ever having eaten eggs or drunk milk? These children have to flay away from these nourishing foods because these foods make them sick. When they drink milk or eat eggs, their skin might break out in an itchy rash, Dr their eyes might get swollen, red, and teary, or they might get cramps and pains in the stomach. Such children are allergic to these foods, although they may be perfectly able to eat and drink everything else. Luckily, they can eat plenty of other nourishing foods instead.

There are several things in foods that our bodies use from the time we are born. These essentials are called proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. We must get plenty of them if we are to grow normally.

Some foods have more protein than others; some foods have more fat than protein; some have more carbohydrate than protein; and still other foods may be rich in vitamins but poor in minerals.


Ulcers of the stomach and duodenum may respond to medical management if the child is kept on a proper diet that includes large quantities of milk.

For example, if we ate chocolate and nothing else, day in and day out, we wouldn’t get enough protein or vitamins or minerals in our diet and our muscles wouldn’t grow as strong as they should, and perhaps our teeth would get lots of cavities in them. If we ate only fish or chicken all the time, we’d get plenty of protein, but we wouldn’t have enough carbohydrates to supply us with the pep and energy we need to run and play. And if we never ate butter or took cream on our foods, or put gravy on our potatoes, we might not get enough fat in our diet, and we might turn out to be terribly skinny. When we eat bread and jelly, or noodles, or spaghetti, or rice, or potatoes, we are sure to have plenty of carbohydrates for the energy we use up every day. Cake and candy and ice cream, too, have loads of carbohydrates in them, but we shouldn’t eat them until we have finished the main part of our meal.

Vitamins and minerals are present in many of our foods and in many of the things we drink. They are necessary to help our organs work properly and to allow our bones and muscles to grow. If we don’t get enough vitamins, for example, our eyes might not see as well as they do, or our skin might not be as soft and smooth as it is, or our bones might not grow straight. Vitamins are found in especially large amounts in fresh fruits and vegetables and milk, so it is really important for us to include a lot of these things in our diet. We’ll get a good supply of vitamins if we eat such things as lettuce and celery and carrots and string beans and spinach and apples and cherries and peaches and oranges.

Minerals are present in tiny quantities in most of our foods, and we really need only small amounts of them to be healthy. The minerals our bodies needs have odd names, but we might want t memorize them anyway. For instant there is calcium, which we need for our teeth and bones to grow. There is lots calcium in mill, so if we drink a
glasses each day, that matter will taken care of. Then there is phosphorus, also present in milk, which we because calcium won’t work properly in our bodies unless plenty of phosphorus is there, too. They work together like brothers and sisters. Also, we must have sodium and chlorides and potassium, and we do have them in many of our foods. They supply the salt for all our body fluids. Without the proper amounts of sodium and chlorides and potassium, we might not breathe as easily as we do, and we might not be able to exercise as much as we want to. And, finally, our diets must have iron if our bodies are to work the way they should. Unless we have enough iron, our blood will not be healthy, and we might get sleepy and tired too early in the day. On Sundays, we might even fall asleep before the Disney show comes on television! Now wouldn’t that be awful? Fortunately, there is plenty of iron in the fruits and vegetables we eat.

Chewing and Swallowing
Most of us learn, quite early, to chew thoroughly and not to take too much food into our mouths at one time. Of course, there are a few children who stuff themselves so their cheeks bulge out like huge apples. Children who do that can’t chew properly, which is bad because then the saliva in the mouth doesn’t mix with and soften the food before it is swallowed. And when some┬Čone tries to get down a big chunk of unchewed food, sometimes it gets stuck. And then he has to cough up or spit out the food, and that looks terrible and makes an awful mess.

When we chew our food thoroughly and slowly, our teeth break up the big pieces and our saliva is able to mix with and wet the food properly, so it can glide down smoothly from the back of the mouth into the food pipe and then on down to the stomach. If someone swallows before he has chewed completely, he often swallows a lot of air along with his food, and this air when it gets into the stomach-may cause hiccuping and burping, or it may even cause a gas pain in the stomach. Of course, ‘no one wants to listen to someone else’s loud burps or hiccups, nor do they want to see a child get a stomachache.


The most common causes of upset stomach are overeating and gulping down food. Such stomach and Intestinal upsets can be avoided by developing good eating habits.

1. Always take a portion that will fit your mouth. Never stuff; there is plenty of time to eat.
2. Keep chewing until all the big pieces are chopped up. Don’t swallow until then.
3. Keep your lips closed while you chew. If you smack your lips you will make a lot of noise when you chew.
4. Don’t talk while you are chewing. Talk only after your mouth is empty.
5. Don’t put any more food into your mouth until the last mouth food has completely disappeared down your throat.
6. Drink only between mouthfuls, when your mouth is empty. Don’t drink to wash down food that hasn’t been chewed thoroughly. Then you won’t burp or hiccup, or get a gas pain.

Food and Drink When It Reaches the Stomach
When you swallow, the fluid or food slides down the foodpipe, or esophagus, which runs from the back of the throat down to the stomach. The stomach looks like a sack, hollow on the inside so it can hold plenty of food and fluid. In a grown-up, the stomach is about the size of a football. Naturally, it is smaller in a child. The inside lining of the stomach has millions of tiny glands that pour out a fluid much like the saliva in our mouths. This fluid is called stomach juice or gastric juice. The outer wall of the stomach is made of muscle that churns and mashes the food into tinier and tinier pieces, so that it looks a lot like something that has just come out of a blender. When the food is all soft and mushy, it leaves the stomach and passes into the small intestines.


The stomach is the organ of the digestive tract which breaks down food into small particles. It is located between the esophagus (foodpipe) and the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine). Many people think the stomach does most of the digesting of food, but this is not true.

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