Digestion Facts



  • Digestion is the process by which your body breaks down the food you eat into substances that it can absorb (take in) and use.
  • Your digestive tract is basically a long, winding tube called the alimentary canal (gut). It starts at your mouth and ends at your anus.
  • If you could lay your gut out straight, it would be nearly six times as long as you are tall.
  • The food you eat is softened in your mouth by chewing and by chemicals in your saliva (spit).
  • When you swallow, food travels down your oesophagus (gullet) into your stomach. Your stomach is a muscular- Walled bag which mashes the food into a pulp, helped by chemicals called gastric juices.
  • When empty, your stomach holds barely 0.5 litres, but after a big meal it can stretch to more than 4 liters.
  • The half-digested food that leaves your stomach is called chyme. It passes into your small intestine.
  • Your small intestine is a 6-m-long tube where chyme is broken down into molecules small enough to be absorbed through the intestine wall into the blood.
  • Food that cannot be digested in your small intestine passes on i nto your large intestine. ! It is then pushed out through your anus as feces when you go to the toilet (see excretion).
  • Digestive enzymes play a vital part in breaking food down so it can be absorbed by the body.