Every time we eat or drink something, our digestive system goes to work to help our bodies absorb the nutrients we need
to stay strong and healthy.
It all starts in our mouth. As we chew our food, saliva is produced and our food starts to break down. Once swallowed,
food moves down our esophagus and into our stomach.
The stomach is a curved organ that stretches when we eat or drink and it connects the esophagus to the small intestine. Muscles at the top of our stomach relax to let food enter while muscles at the bottom of our stomach go to work to mix the contents of our stomach with digestive juices or acids that primarily break down proteins.
Next, the contents of the stomach, which is now called chyme, enters the small intestine. Digestive juices created by the small intestine, along with bile from the liver (which is stored in the gall bladder) and enzymes from the pancreas all go
to work to further break down the food into carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The walls of the small intestine absorb these nutrients and – via the bloodstream - deliver these nutrients to cells throughout the body. Meanwhile, the remaining chyme passes into the large intestine.
Once in the large intestine (also called the colon), there are very few nutrients left in the chyme. Water and electrolytes are removed and microbes go to work to continue the digestive process. What’s left now is waste, which passes through the final part of the large intestine, called the rectum and exits through the anus.
This vital and amazing process takes place every time we eat or drink. And the nutrients absorbed into our bodies through digestion help all parts of our body - from our organs to our hormones.
You can help keep your digestive system working well by drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet that has lots of fiber-rich foods like fruit and vegetables.
As a gastroenterology clinic, we specialize in caring for people who have digestive issues. Please contact us if you have concerns about your digestive health.