Posted on | April 12, 2010 | 1 Comment
It’s probably been a long time since you’ve had to think about what occurs during digestion. So here’s a step-by-step revision for you on how we digest, process and eliminate food.
1. Digestion begins in the brain: Smelling and seeing food prepare digestive juices in the intestines.
2. Chewing: Your teeth break down food into smaller particles, break down fibre and allows digestive enzymes to work. The saliva contains the first digestive enzyme, salivary amylase. Amylase begins to break down carbohydrate into smaller sugar molecules. Fat also begins the breakdown process with the fat-digesting enzyme called lingual lipase.
Here are the enzymes responsible for breaking down nutrients along the way:
- Lipase – Breaks down lipids
- Amylase – Breaks down carbohydrates
- Proteinase – Digests Protein
- Lactase – Digests Lactose
3. Swallow: Food travels via the oesophagus to the stomach.
4. Stomach: When food enters it starts to be processed further. The muscles of stomach contract and mix with gastric juices secreted by the stomach lining. The food is churned and mixed until it resembles thick soup called chyme.
5. Into the small intestine (absorption): The stomach pushes chyme into the small intestine where the real digestive action is. Most of our food’s proteins and carbohydrates empty from the stomach into the small intestine within a couple hours, yet the fats, since oil and water (digestive juices) don’t easily mix, remain in the stomach a few hours longer. The chyme enters the first part of the small intestine is called the duodenum more further digestion and absorption occur.
6. Excretion: (Water and waste) After 10 hours travelling though the small intestines, most of the nutrients have been absorbed. Any leftovers enter large intestine, or colon. The first vital function of the colon is to regulate the body’s water balance. As the waste from the food passes through the lower part of the colon absorbs excess water from the food and furnishes it to the water-thirsty body. If, however, the waste matter lacks water, the colon Amoxil fills the stool with water to prevent constipation. Healthy water balance in the colon leads to healthy stool patterns. The waste finally exits.