The digestive process begins in your mouth. When you eat, your teeth start breaking down the food into smaller pieces, while saliva, containing enzymes like amylase, starts the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates.
Once you’ve chewed your food into a more manageable consistency, you swallow it. The food travels down your esophagus via muscular contractions called peristalsis.
3. Stomach Digestion:
Food enters the stomach, where it encounters powerful gastric juices containing hydrochloric acid and enzymes like pepsin. These break down proteins and further liquefy the food into a semi-digested mixture known as chyme.
4. Small Intestine:
Chyme moves into the small intestine, where the majority of digestion and nutrient absorption occurs. The pancreas releases enzymes (lipase, protease, and amylase) to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Bile, produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, helps emulsify fats, making them easier to digest. Tiny finger-like projections called villi and microvilli in the small intestine absorb nutrients into the bloodstream.
As the chyme passes through the small intestine, nutrients such as sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed and transported to various parts of the body to support functions like growth, energy production, and repair.
6. Large Intestine (Colon):
What’s left after nutrient absorption is mostly water, fiber, and waste products. The remaining material enters the large intestine. Here, the colon absorbs water and electrolytes, converting the liquid waste into a more solid form.
7. Gut Bacteria:
Beneficial bacteria in the large intestine aid in fermenting remaining indigestible substances like fiber, producing certain vitamins (like vitamin K and some B vitamins) and further breaking down waste.
8. Formation of Feces:
The waste, now transformed into feces, moves toward the rectum. Muscles in the rectum signal when it’s time for a bowel movement. The sphincter muscles relax, allowing the feces to pass out of the body through the anus.
So, in around 1,000 words, that’s how your stomach turns food into poo! This incredible process involves a series of mechanical and chemical actions across various organs, ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs while efficiently eliminating waste. It’s a complex yet well-coordinated system that keeps you healthy and functioning.