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What does our digestive system do

digestive system

Everything you eat has to be chopped up and broken down before the nutrients or goodness in it can be taken into your blood and used by your body cells to make energy. This chopping up and breaking down takes place in your digestive system, or gut.

                Digestive begins with the first bit. In your mouth the food is copped up and chewed by your teeth and mixed with saliva. Your tongue pushes and kneads the food into a ball. This ball of food is then pushed down a short tube called the oesophagus to your stomach. The food leaves your stomach a little at a time and goes into your small intestine. This is where most of the digestion takes place. Undigested food continues on to the large intestine, where water is taken from it, before travelling to the last part of your intestine, the rectum.

If you did not have a stomach you could not eat just two or three main meals each day. You would have to eat lots of tiny ones much more frequently. The stomach is like a stretchy storage bag for food. It expands to hold a whole meal. Then the layers of muscle in its walls contract to make it squeeze, first one way, then the other. Meanwhile, tiny glands in the stomach lining release their digestive chemicals, including powerful food – corroding acids and strong nutrient – splitting enzymes. Under this combined physical and chemical attack, after a few hours the food has become a mushy, part – digested soup. Around two to four hours after arriving in your stomach, the part – digested soup begins to leave. Small amounts trickle regularly from the stomach into the next section of the digestive tract – the small intestine.

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