Food doesn’t just magically appear in your stomach out of nowhere. It has to travel through your body first, and that journey starts with your mouth.
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Your digestive system is a long, coiled tube that starts at your mouth and ends at your anus. Along the way, it digest food, absorbs nutrients and eliminates waste. The system is about 30 feet (9 meters) long and includes these main parts:
-The esophagus is a muscular tube that moves food from your throat to your stomach.
-The stomach is a saclike organ that mixes food with digestive juices and stores it until it’s ready to be moved on.
-The small intestine is a long, coiled tube where most of the digestion and absorption of food takes place.
-The large intestine Absorbs water and any remaining nutrients from digested food. The large intestine also stores wastes until they leave your body through the rectum and anus as bowel movements.
Food enters your mouth and starts its journey through your digestive system when you start to chew. Chewing mixes food with saliva, which contains enzymes that begin to break down carbohydrates — such as sugars and starches — into smaller molecules.
As you continue to chew and swallow, the food enters your throat (also known as the pharynx) and goes down your esophagus to your stomach. Thetrip takes about eight seconds.
Swallowing is a reflex action that happens when certain muscles in the pharynx contract to push food down the esophagus toward the stomach. A muscular ring (the gastroesophageal sphincter) closes off the opening between the esophagus and stomach so thatfood doesn’t back up into the esophagus or get inhaled into your lungs (aspirate).
The digestive system
Your digestive system is a long, winding tube that starts at your mouth and runs all the way to your anus. Along the way, it includes your esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
The digestive system doesn’t just move food through your body. It also changes it into smaller pieces so that your body can absorb the nutrients it needs. The process of turning food into nutrients is called digestion.
Digestion starts in your mouth with chewing and saliva. Saliva is a liquid made by your salivary glands. It contains enzymes that help break down starch into smaller pieces.
The next stop is your stomach. The muscles in your stomach mix the food with digestive juices and further break it down into even smaller pieces. Digestion continues in your small intestine, where more enzymes are added to help break down food into yet smaller pieces and to help absorb nutrients into your bloodstream.
From there, food passes into your large intestine, where more water is absorbed and waste material is left behind to be eliminated as feces (poo).
The gastrointestinal tract
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a long, continuous tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. The GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum. The GI tract is where food is digested and nutrients are absorbed.
The GI tract is lined with a layer of mucus. This mucus protects the lining of the GI tract from the acid and enzymes that are used to break down food. The mucus also lubricates food so it can move easily through the GI tract.
The GI tract is divided into two parts:
*the small intestine and
*the large intestine.
The small intestine is about 20 feet long and has three parts:
*the jejunum, and
The large intestine is about 5 feet long and has two parts:
*the colon and
The mouth is the first step in digestion, and it’s where food begins to be broken down. saliva, which is produced by the salivary glands, helps to break down food so that it can be more easily swallowed. Once food is swallowed, it enters the esophagus and travels down to the stomach.
The esophagus is a muscular tube that passes food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. It is about 8 inches long and is lined with a moist, pink tissue called mucosa. The esophagus contracts when you swallow. This contraction moves the food or liquid down into your stomach.
The stomach is a sac-like organ that is about the size of a small melon. It has three main parts: the fundus, body, and pylorus. The fundus is the upper part of the stomach. The body is the main part of the stomach. The pylorus is the lower part of the stomach that connects to the small intestine.
The stomach muscles mix food with digestive juices and move it along in a process called peristalsis. Glands in your stomach lining make strong acids and enzymes that break down food into smaller parts.
The stomach is a sac-like organ that is part of the digestive system. It stores and breaks down food until it is small enough to be passed on to the small intestine. The stomach has three main functions:
The stomach acts as a storage tank for food. It can expand to hold up to four times its normal volume. This allows the body to eat large meals and then digest them slowly over a period of time.
2. Breaking down food
The stomach breaks down food using acid and enzymes. The acid kills bacteria and other organisms that may be present in food, and the enzymes break down proteins. This process starts in the mouth, where saliva contains an enzyme called ptyalin that begins to break down carbohydrates.
The stomach also absorbs some nutrients, including water, alcohol, and certain drugs.
The small intestine
The stomach is about the size of a small melon and is located in the upper left-hand side of the abdominal cavity, just below the diaphragm. Food enters the stomach from the esophagus through an opening called the cardiac orifice. The stomach secretes gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acid, intrinsic factor, and mucus. Gastric juice helps to break down food mechanically and chemically.
After leaving the stomach, food enters the small intestine, which is about 20 feet (6 meters) long. The small intestine has three sections: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The duodenum is a C-shaped structure that receives bile (a greenish-yellow fluid that helps to break down fats) from the liver and gallbladder through the common bile duct. Pancreatic juice (a clear fluid that contains enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) enters the duodenum through the pancreatic duct.
As food passes through the small intestine, bile and pancreatic juice mix with it. The mixing action, along with muscular contractions in the intestine walls, causes food to be thoroughly broken down into tiny particles that can be absorbed into the blood or lymph vessels lining the intestine walls. Most of this absorption takes place in ileum, which is why it is often called the “absorption” section of the small intestine.
The large intestine
The large intestine, also called the colon, is about five feet long and about three inches in diameter. It connects the ileum (the final section of the small intestine) to the rectum and anus (the opening where wastes leave the body). The large intestine absorbs most of the water and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) that are left after food has been digested and absorbed in the small intestine. This process forms feces, which are wastes that need to be eliminated from the body. Muscular contractions push feces toward the rectum, and eventually out of the anus.
The rectum is the last stop before wastes exit the body. When you feel the urge to defecate, wastes have already collected in the rectum. The rectum is about 8 inches long.
The walls of the rectum are lined with muscle. These muscles contract and push wastes out of the body through the anus.
The anus is the opening of the rectum through which feces leaves the body. The rectum is the final section of the large intestine. The large intestine absorbs most of the water from food as it travel through your body and forms feces.