How Your Digestive System Works

The digestive system is essential as it processes our food intake and absorbs the nutrients needed for our body to function properly.

stomach in pain

One of the best things that we do is eat. Going to the restaurants buying that well-done steak, or sometimes that medium-rare steak with veggies on the side, really is mouth-watering, combined with fine red wine on a Friday evening with your loved one. Maybe, go out with friends and chill in your usual burger joint, eating that big delicious juicy burger and fries matching with a cold cold soft drink. Eating is indeed a very very pleasurable activity that we do day in and day out. But have you ever thought about what happens to the food that from the start we smell, we take in, bite, chew and swallow how the digestive system functions?

The digestive system is actually a very complex natural process that our body operates that involves a lot of aspects with their own unique specializations before the entire food and its nutrients are totally absorbed into the body. It grinds the food which the body uses to generate energy, acquire growth, and help the body repair damaged cells. Therefore, the digestive system is our engine for growth.

Parts of the Digestive System

Food is the source of energy and nutrients that our body needs to do things and repair those cells that were damaged through activities. It is best to know the different functions of the digestive system, benefits, and effects so that we would understand more the value that these body components bring to our bodies.


This is the start of the whole digestive process where we chew and taste the food. The mouth is composed of the teeth that break down the food in small particles, it has also the tongue that allows us to taste the food and manage the food while chewing, and the saliva that mixes with the food in helping to make it more chewable in the process of breaking it into small particles so the other parts will be able to function very well in digesting and absorbing the food.


This is where the food passes through in order for it to reach the esophagus, or swallowing tube. It is also a key area where air passes through, but the air passage is temporarily halted to give way for the food swallowed. There’s also a muscle, pharynx muscles, that helps push the food directly to the esophagus, this allows a seamless process in channeling the food from mouth to the esophagus.


A long tube that links the throat to the stomach. The food slides down to the stomach, through the process called peristalsis which is a series of contractions. There’s a unique capability that the esophagus can do to keep the food in its place, and that is the lower esophageal sphincter that keeps the food from passing backward allowing the food to easily glide to the stomach.


The place where the food is heavily ground and mixed through a combination of acids and enzymes. It is a sac-like, or J-shaped, organ with very strong muscular capabilities that can expand to hold an amount of 1 liter of food, while for newborn babies it can only expand to about 30 ml.

Small Intestine

A loosely coiled tube that has an approximate of 20 feet long, if spread out, which continuously breaks down the food by using enzymes sourcing it from the bile of the liver and pancreas. Like the esophagus, the small intestine also uses peristalsis, or contraction, in moving the food and mixing it up to indigestion. The small intestine has 3 main components, the duodenum and the jejunum for the continuous breakdown of the food, and the ileum for the absorption of the nutrients into the bloodstream.

Large Intestine

Known in the medical field as the colon, the large intestine has an approximate 5 to 6 foot long that is composed of the cecum, sigmoid colon, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon. The Sigmoid colon is the S-shape part of the large intestine that connects it to the rectum. Human wastes, or stool, are stored in this area from the digestive process through the peristalsis. When the colon becomes full of stool, the feces is directed to the rectum to empty itself.


This is the part of the digestive system that connects the colon to the anus, it is 8-inch storage that receives the stool from the colon. This is the place where temporarily the stools are deposited until the time that the brain sends a signal that the feces can be released.


Consists of the pelvic floor muscles and two anal sphincters, the internal and external muscles, is the last part of the digestive system. The pelvic floor muscle is the one that stops stool from coming out when it’s not supposed to. While the anal sphincters manage the stools, the internal sphincter keeps us from going to the bathroom while asleep as an example and the external sphincter keeps the stool until we can reach the toilet for release.

Importance of the Digestive System

Through the digestive system, our body gains nutrients and absorbs other components to make us strong and healthy, with the series of contractions digesting food extracts the need for vitamins and minerals that our body needs. As we age the digestive system slows down and the process of allocating the food is sluggish, which in effect affects our health, body protection, and overall growth.

Hence, the digestive system is our engine for growth which needs proper care and sustenance in order to have a better living and live longer. We tend to overlook and put all sorts of things into it without a second thought, but understanding the digestive system helps us to be more responsible with our body, be picky with what to eat, and help us save ourselves from sickness. That’s why living healthy and eating healthy is a must, as they say, “every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself”.

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