The Digestive System

The first step in the digestive process happens before we even taste food. Just by smelling that homemade apple pie or thinking about how delicious that ripe tomato is going to be, you start salivating — and the digestive process begins in preparation for that first bite.

Food is our fuel, and its nutrients give our bodies’ cells the energy and substances they need to operate. But before food can do that, it must be digested into small pieces the body can absorb and use.

Digital blue human with highlighted digestive system

About the Digestive System

Almost all animals have a tube-type digestive system in which food enters the mouth, passes through a long tube, and exits as feces(poop) through the anus. The smooth muscle in the walls of the tube-shaped digestive organs rhythmically and efficiently moves the food through the system, where it is broken down into tiny absorbable atoms and molecules.

During the process of absorption, nutrients that come from the food (including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) pass through channels in the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. The blood works to distribute these nutrients to the rest of the body. The waste parts of food that the body can’t use are passed out of the body as feces.

Every morsel of food we eat has to be broken down into nutrients that can be absorbed by the body, which is why it takes hours to fully digest food. In humans, protein must be broken down into amino acids, starches into simple sugars, and fats into fatty acids and glycerol. The water in our food and drink is also absorbed into the bloodstream to provide the body with the fluid it needs.

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/digestive.html?WT.ac=ctg

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Flu-Free, Healthy Travel this Winter

Whether traveling to warmer weather or a snow-filled adventure, make sure flu is not your travel companion.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already done so. It takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to provide protection, so get vaccinated well before your trip to reduce your risk of catching and spreading flu.

Wherever you may be going this winter, protecting yourself and others from flu is important. Here are some useful tips for staying healthy during the winter months.

Before Your Trip

Get vaccinated.

Flu vaccines are the most important tool we have for preventing flu. If you have not gotten your vaccine already, it’s important to get it before you travel. Flu vaccines are available in many places, including doctors’ offices, health departments and pharmacies. You can also use the HealthMap Vaccine Finder if you need help finding places that offer flu vaccine in your area. Getting vaccinated now is the best way to protect yourself against flu.

Prepare a travel health kit.

Remember that prevention can be travel-sized! Include items in your kit that might be helpful if you get sick, such as tissues, pain or fever medicine, soap, and an alcohol-based sanitizer to use in case soap and water are not available. For other health items to consider, see Pack Smart.

Traveling outside the United States this winter?

  • Learn about health information for your destination.
  • Before you travel, see a doctor familiar with travel medicine to get any vaccines, medicines, and information you need to stay healthy.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are at high risk for flu complications.Depending on your situation, your doctor may advise you to take antiviral medications with you when you travel, especially if appropriate medical care is not available at your destination.
  • Know what to do if you become sick or injured on your trip.
  • Visiting an area where there is a risk of malaria? If so, ask a doctor before you travel about medicine that can prevent infection. Seek medical care right away if you have a fever when traveling. The first symptoms of malaria usually include fever and chills, similar to the symptoms of flu. However, if malaria is left untreated, the disease can quickly become serious and even life threatening.

https://www.cdc.gov/features/wintertravel/index.html

Folic Acid Helps Prevent Some Birth Defects

Learn how to get healthy before and during pregnancy to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. You can plan ahead by getting enough folic acid each day.

Folic acid is a B vitamin. It is an important part of planning for a healthy pregnancy. If a woman consumes the recommended amount of folic acid before and during early pregnancy, it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (known as anencephaly) and spine (known as spina bifida). Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which parts of a baby’s brain and skull do not form correctly. Babies born with anencephaly cannot survive. Spina bifida is a serious birth defect in which a baby’s spine does not develop correctly, and can result in some severe physical disabilities. All women, but especially those who want to become pregnant, need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day

Woman taking a pillAll women, but especially those who want to become pregnant, need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

Do I need folic acid?

Yes! Every woman needs to get enough folic acid each day, even if she does not plan to become pregnant. Folic acid is needed to make these new cells. Start a healthy habit today and get 400 mcg of folic acid every day.

Why can’t I wait until I’m pregnant to start taking folic acid?

Birth defects of the brain and spine (anencephaly and spina bifida) happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman finds out she’s pregnant. Also, half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. These are two reasons why it is important for all women who can get pregnant to be sure to get 400 mcg of folic acid every day, even if they aren’t planning a pregnancy any time soon. By the time a woman realizes she’s pregnant, it might be too late to prevent these birth defects. Plan ahead! Starting today is the best option.

How do I get folic acid?

An easy way to be sure you’re getting enough folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid in it. Most multivitamins have the 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid you need. If taking a multivitamin bothers your stomach, try taking it with meals or just before bed. If you have trouble taking pills, you can try a multivitamin that is gummy or chewable. Also, be sure to take it with a full glass of water.

Folic acid is added to foods such as enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the addition of folic acid to corn masa flour. Corn masa flour can be found in food such as corn chips, tortillas, tamales, and taco shells. Check the Nutrition Facts label on the food packaging. A serving of some cereals has 100% of the folic acid that you need each day.

In addition to getting 400 mcg of folic acid from supplements and fortified foods, you can eat a diet rich in folate. You can get folate from beans, peas and lentils, oranges and orange juice, asparagus and broccoli, and dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, and mustard greens.

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Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Christmas. 3

Take These Steps for Your Home

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

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Care Philosophy

MENDAKOTA PEDIATRICS is an award winning practice that provides personalized pediatric care for infants, children, and adolescents in an intimate, family-focused practice setting. Our families want a clinic where they can see their doctor and the staff knows them well. At Mendakota Pediatrics parents can be assured that each child has his or her own personal pediatrician.

We know health care is expensive and our families deserve to see a pediatrician. We believe that sick children should be seen the same day. We believe that impersonal, monolithic health care systems do not deliver the care families pay for.

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We believe that pediatricians and patient’s families, not health care systems should make decisions regarding their child’s health. We are extremely particular about which physicians we partner with to provide the highest quality subspecialty care for each individual child. For example, we may choose to use a specialist at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, or at Gillette Children’s Specialty Care. We also refer patients to private subspecialty groups that are not necessarily associated with only one hospital. We work with our families to choose the specialist who can best serve your child.

Just because we have an “old fashioned” personalized approach to Pediatrics does not mean we are old fashioned in any other respect. Mendakota Pediatrics implemented its Electronic Health Record (EHR) System in 2004. Our EHR eliminates paper charts and allows our physicians to access your child’s chart 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The EHR is also integrated with our Lab Service Provider (which does complex testing) insuring fast turnaround times for lab information.

Our Clinic Lab is nationally certified (COLA/CLIA) for all routine blood work, urinalysis, strep tests, cultures, lead and other tests. For more complex tests, we utilize the HealthEast lab at St. Joseph’s hospitals and the Mayo Clinic laboratory.

In 2010 we implemented the Diopsys Visual Evoked Potential test (see their information on our Welcome page) to examine all children for visual disturbances that cannot be detected by routine physical examination alone (including amblyopia, which can lead to blindness).

http://mendakotapeds.com/why-choose-us/