The journey of food starts from the very point we put it in our mouth. That is when the process of digesting the food begins – right in our mouth!! As we pop in the food, the teeth help crush the food into smaller pieces so that it becomes easier to swallow. The saliva in our mouth has enzymes. These enzymes help in the breakdown of starches and fats, which are present in the food into simpler compounds. Try this. If you chew your fries or rice long enough, it will start tasting sweet. Why? Because saliva in our mouth converts carbohydrates in them into simple sugar!
Once we crunch the food, we swallow it. After we swallow food it travels through oesophagus also known as food pipe to reach stomach. Did you know that ‘oesophagus’ is derived from Greek word ‘oisophagos’ meaning entrance for eating! So true! After all we have just begun right?;)
Now the food reaches stomach. The stomach’s job is to further break down the food. Have you noticed that even when you eat a little extra than usual your stomach takes it. Smaller or heavier meals both fit in your stomach! How? Your Stomach is like a hollow stretch bag. It’s walls are made up of muscles that move to churn the food further into smaller pieces. Imagine all food and muscles dancing to the tunes of I like to move it, move it ! Ha! Stomach also secretes protein-digesting enzymes and strong acids to help digestion of food.
Food, now almost like a mushy soup called chime, is passed on to small intestine. Small intestine is an elastic, soft tube that connects stomach and large intestine. It is around 22 Feet long! That’s about four or five times your size, but it is neatly folded and takes a small space inside our body. Here, the food is further broken down by enzymes and as well as another organ called pancreas. Most of the nutrients in the food are absorbed in small intestines. What is left now is indigestible food matter.
This indigestible food passes through large intestine. Large intestine is the last part of the digestive system. It is about 5 Ft long. It absorbs all the water from the food. The remaining stuff is not food anymore but the waste matter that body gets rid off!!