How your digestive system works
Our digestive system is set up to give us water, energy, vitamins and minerals from the food we eat and the liquids we drink. When there’s a problem our body suffers and we do not work at our best. The more we take care of our diet and help our digestive system, the better we feel.
- Mouth – Food and water enter via the mouth. As we chew, we start to break down the food.
- Oesophagus – The oesophagus carries the food and liquids to the stomach for digestion.
- Stomach – The stomach produces acid and enzymes that break down the foods when they are in the stomach. The muscles in the stomach walls also helps this process by mixing up and breaking down the food. The partly digested food is then released into the small bowel.
- Pancreas – The pancreas produces enzymes that are important for digestion.
- Small bowel – Here the food is broken down further. The nutrients are then absorbed into the body. As the digested waste leaves the small bowel it enters the colon.
- Liver – The liver produces bile which helps to break down the fats in the food. This bile is stored in the gall bladder.
- Gallbladder – The gallbladder releases bile into the small bowel when food is eaten. Bile helps to break down fats in the food.
- Large bowel (a. colon & b. rectum) – The large bowel is made of the colon and the rectum. The colon absorbs water, and the muscles of the colon move the waste towards the rectum. The waste is held in the rectum until it is ready to leave the body.
- Anus – The waste is passed through the anus as it leaves the body.