Digestive System

by Sharon Hopkins

All of us like to gorge on those scrumptious food items available in the market or the healthy food which is prepared at our home. But, have you ever wondered what happens to the food which we eat once it is swallowed?

Most of the people have a very simple answer to it i.e. it gets digested in our stomach. But, most of us are completely unaware of the fact that digestion in itself is a very complex process.

Digestion basically can be described as the process where the food particles are broken down by the action of various enzymes secreted by the body, so as to make the process of absorption easier. Once a food particle is swallowed, the process of digestion begins from the mouth itself and keeps on continuing until it gets excreted by our body.

Process of Digestion

The process of digestion is a multi-level process. It comprises of four levels namely:-

  • Ingestion
  • Digestion
  • Absorption
  • Elimination

The first step of digestion starts with ingestion of the food in our mouth. As soon as the food particle enters the mouth, they are subjected to various enzymes secreted by digestive glands. These enzymes work upon the food particle to break it into simpler substances.

Once the food is swallowed, it is passed on to the stomach. The food passes through the esophagus where it is broken down into much simpler substances. The food reaches the stomach where all the essential elements from the food are absorbed, by mechanical breakdown of the food.

The next step of digestion comprises of chemical digestion which takes places in the large and small intestine. Here the food’s pH balance is achieved in order to extract necessary nutrients and minerals from it. After the process of absorption is complete by the actions of various digestive glands and secretions, the left over food substance is transformed in the form of feces.

This waste material is eliminated from the body through anus, thus completing the process of elimination.

But, right from the moment the food is swallowed till the time it is excreted, the human body has absolutely no control over the digestion system. And, if the digestion doesn’t takes place the proper way, a person may have to suffer serious repercussions. Some of the common ailments caused by ineffective digestion include acidity, constipation, and diarrhea. Consuming large amounts of antacids to relieve acidity may disrupt the calcium and acidic balance of the stomach leading to further implications.

Hence, it is always advisable to consume healthy food and live an active lifestyle in order to ensure proper digestion.

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