A quick tour of the digestive system

To help you understand how your digestive system works, let’s take a quick tour.

Like a winding tube, the digestive system carries food through your body, sending nutrients to the bloodstream and waste products to the large intestine to be eliminated. Here’s how it works:

1. Start at the mouth. Here’s where you chew your food into small pieces, allowing it to pass through the esophagus and enter the stomach.
2. The first stop is the stomach where the food is broken down into smaller pieces in preparation for entry into the small intestine.
3. Then the small intestine breaks the food down even further. Nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream, and what’s left is mainly water and waste products.
4. Next, the large intestine, also known as the colon, moves the waste to the rectum. Under normal conditions this process is amazingly efficient. For every 10 quarts of excess water entering the colon, approximately 9.9 quarts are reabsorbed into the body!
5. Waste exists through the rectum. This is how the waste is eliminated.

There are common problems that can occur during transit. If transit through the large intestine or colon is slowed, then the waste becomes hardened and causes constipation. However, if transit is too fast, then the colon cannot absorb the excess liquid and the result is diarrhea.

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