The Chemical & Physical Processes of Digestion

Written by erick kristian
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The Chemical & Physical Processes of Digestion
The digestive process starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. (sexy stomach image by Indigo Fish from Fotolia.com)

Digestion allows living organisms to process food/liquids and convert the useful nutrients to energy and expel the useless properties as waste. The digestive process helps break down what is consumed so that it can be absorbed by the body. This process starts in the mouth, with chewing breaking down the food into sizes the stomach can then refine further.

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The Mouth

When food is chewed, the mouth releases saliva that helps break down the substance. Chewed food travels down the oesophagus first through a process of peristalsis, which pushes food through the digestive system like a contracting wave.

The Stomach

It then is delivered into the stomach, where it is stored and digestive juices are secreted. These enzymes begin to further break down the food. The lower stomach mixes the food and digestive acids. When they are broken down sufficiently, the food is passed into the small intestine.

The Intestine

Food then travels to the intestine. Nutrients are extracted by the intestinal walls, pancreas and liver. The contents are refined and processed as they travel through the intestine. This process can take hours or days depending on the type of food consumed. Water, for example, is processed extremely quickly since it is a very basic liquid that needs hardly any processing for the body to assimilate.

The Colon

What remains after processing and nutrient extraction then travels to the colon, where it is stored until a sufficient quantity of discardable matter is built up and subsequently released naturally through a visit to the bathroom.

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