The Journey of food
Food begins as a (usually) appetising meal and goes through a four-stage process.
Mouth - Stomach - Small Intestine - Large Intestine
1. The Mouth
Stage one starts with the breakdown of food by chewing. This mixes food with saliva, which begins to digest it chemically. The food is then swallowed and moves down the oesophagus and into the stomach.
2. The Stomach
Muscular contractions in the oesophagus propel the food into the stomach. Here it is doused in gastric juices, which then turn it into a soft liquid mixture called chime.
3. The Small Intestine
Is a hollow tube that runs from the stomach to the beginning of the large intestine. The small
intestine breaks down food from the stomach and absorbs much of the nutrients from the food. The small intestine is broken down in to three sections.
Duodenum - Jejunum - Ileum
The first section of the small bowel is the Duodenum The main role of the duodenum is to complete the first phase of digestion. This is where food from the stomach is mixed with enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the gallbladder. The enzymes and bile help break down food and forward this on to the second section the Jejunum. The Jejunum is where the inside walls absorb the food’s nutrients. The inside walls of the jejunum have many circular folds, which make its surface area large enough to absorb all of the nutrients that the body needs. The Ileum is the third part of the small intestine. It absorbs bile acids and vitamin B12, which are needed by the body for various functions.
4. The Large Intestine (Colon)
After food is processed in the small intestine, it passes into the large intestine (also called the large bowel or colon). The large intestine, which is about 5 feet long, extracts most of the water from the food and distributes the liquid to the body; the remaining material passes through the colon and out of the body as faeces (stool).