The Food Digestion Process

If you have ever wondered about the food digestion process, here is a general overview of the steps involved.

Digestion starts as you chew your food. Saliva mixes with this food and starts the breakdown process. From here, the food goes down the esophagus and enter the stomach, where it is mixed with enzymes, mucus, and hydrochloric acid, which kills germs and softens the food. The enzyme pepsin now breaks down proteins. The food ends up in the stomach as a watery substance known as chyme. This chyme then travels through the pyloric sphincter to the duodenum. Here, alkali counters the acid quality of the chyme. Pepsin only works in an acid arena, so now its action halts. Enzymes of an alkaline nature now take charge.

Now we arrive at the pancreas and the gallbladder, which are connected by two tubes. Fat is emulsified in the chyme by bile. Enzymes from the pancreas go forth and work on this fat, while some work on breaking down proteins and carbohydrates. The hormone insulin is sent into the duodenum from the pancreas. Insulin controls the sugar content of the bloodstream and cell utilization of energy. At this point, the ingested food has been broken down quite a bit, but no assimilation of nutrients into the body has taken place. When this material arrives at the small intestine, its rich blood supply and lymph start to ferry nutrients to the body as a whole.

The food now has been broken down into amino acids (protein), sugars (carbohydrates), and triglycerides (fats), which are generally sent through the lymphatic system's lacteal ducts as opposed to the blood. The amino acids and sugars are transported to the liver by the blood vessels, where some are used and some are stored. Now, the eliminative process begins with the large intestine or the bowel. Note that you are only as healthy as your intestinal health. This is the main area for the forming of free radicals in the body. The intestinal lining absorbs the mineral salts and water of the now mostly non-usable material. This material is now more solid, or condensed, and forms the feces, or stool, that is eliminated through the anus.