The Digestive System - An Overview
What is digestion?
Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients to be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into smaller parts so that the body can use them to build and nourish cells, and to provide energy.
How does the digestive process work?
Digestion begins in the mouth, where food and drink are taken in, and is completed in the small intestine.
What is included in the digestive system?
The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract and other organs that aid in digestion.
The digestive tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus, consisting of the following:
Organs that help with digestion, but are not part of the digestive tract, include the following:
Parts of other organ systems, like nerves and blood, also play a major role in the digestive process.
How does food move through the digestive system?
In a wave-like movement called peristalsis, muscles propel food and liquid along the digestive tract. In general, there are six steps in the process of moving food and liquid through the digestive system:
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