Why do we get indigestion?

Indigestion - is most often brought about by interference with a marvellous piece of engineering contained in 30 to 32 feet of continuous hollow tubing called the alimentary canal. In this system the food is broken down, churned, diluted, dissolved and chemically split into simpler compounds which can be absorbed into the blood. The alimentary canal is formed of membrane which has to resist a chemistry that dissolves bone, gristle, animal and vegetable matter far tougher than the membrane itself. The stomach's gastric juice, one of the chief agents in digestion, has a high concentration of hydrochloric acid. This can dissolve a hard boiled egg in a few minutes. Why does it not dissolve the stomach? One reason seems to be that the stomach secretes not only acid but also ammonia, an equally powerful alkali which acts as a neutralizing agent. This powerful gastric juice can be hindered by many causes, with the result that we may get the pains we know as indigestion. The alimentary canal makes its preparations for a meal well in advance. The sight and smell and even the thought of food set the salivary and gastric juices flowing, while the stomach blushes in anticipation ass the glands begin working and the capillaries widen to bring in an extra blood supply for the activity of digestion. But the prospect of an unappetizing meal or disagreeable company, and the emotions of worry, irritation, anger and fear may stop these preparations. They may even cause the stomach to turn pale. Indigestion is the result. We may also get indigestion if we eat too quickly without chewing our food or eat too many food which are difficult to digest, thus overloading and disrupting the system.

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