Function of the Digestive System

Function of the Digestive System

Structure and Components of Digestive System

  • Mouth and Salivary Glands: Mechanical and chemical digestion start here. Food is physically broken down by chewing and mixed with saliva, which contains enzymes that begin the process of chemical digestion.

  • Oesophagus: A muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. It uses rhythmic muscle movements called peristalsis to push food into the stomach.

  • Stomach: A sack-like organ where food is further broken down by powerful stomach acids. It also uses peristalsis to mix the digested food.

  • Small Intestine: A long, twisted tube where most of the absorption of nutrients takes place. It’s lined with tiny projections called villi that increase the surface area and maximize absorption.

  • Large Intestine: Absorbs water and electrolytes from the remaining undigested food, forming semi-solid feces.

  • Rectum and Anus: Feces are stored in the rectum before being expelled through the anus.

Functions and Processes in Digestive System

  • Digestion: It’s the process of breaking down food into nutrients that the body can utilize. There are two types: Mechanical digestion (physical breakdown) and Chemical digestion (enzymes breaking down food into nutrients).

  • Absorption: Once food has been digested, nutrients need to be absorbed into the bloodstream so they can be used by the body. This mainly occurs in the small intestine.

  • Elimination: Any unabsorbed food particles are passed into the large intestine, where water is reabsorbed, forming feces. These are then eliminated from the body.