People need to know that the digestive system starts working even before a person takes his or her first bite of food. During the next couple of hours past the meal, the digestive system will work hard. The digestive system may even work for a couple of days, depending on the food that a person has consumed. The process of digestion is the one that enables the body to take all the needed nutrients from the food.
The mouth starts everything moving
When people put the food in the mouth, the saliva starts to form and it is important because saliva breaks the chemicals in the food a bit. This makes the food easier to swallow. Tongue and teeth help in that process as well. Once the chewing is done, the food goes to the esophagus.
On the way down
A lot of people are aware that the esophagus looks like a 10 inch long stretchy pipe. The food goes through this pipe on its way to the stomach. People should also know that there is a windpipe present at the back of the throat which is responsible for the air to come in and out of the body. However, there is a certain flap that does not allow the food to go into the windpipe. In cases when people ate or drank something too fast they cough and in these cases the food went into the windpipe. Once the food is in the esophagus it does not go into the stomach straight away. The muscles in this pipe slowly squeeze the food down.
In the stomach
Every person knows that the stomach looks like a sack attached to the end of the esophagus. However, the stomach is highly important because it stores the food people ate, breaks that food down into liquid mixture and slowly gets rid of that mixture through the small intestine. Gastric juices and stomach muscles help the process of breaking down of the food quite a lot. After that, the food goes to the small intestine.
The small intestine
The small intestine is located underneath the stomach and it is 22 feet long. In the small intestine the food gets broken down in order for the body to absorb all the needed vitamins, proteins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates. The pancreas, liver and gallbladder help in this process. The nutrients that remain go to the liver, while the waste that remains goes to the large intestine.
The nutrient-rich blood goes to the liver, where the waste is turned into bile. After the liver, the large intestine is the last stop on the digestive tract. People need to know that they can aid the digestive system by drinking a lot of water and consuming a healthy diet. High-fiber foods are especially important.