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How do we digest our food?

A cross-section through the mouthFood gives the body energy to stay alive and move about. The nutrients in food help us grow and stay healthy. Digestion means breaking food into smaller and smaller pieces and turning it into substances the body can use. Digestion begins in the mouth. Here food is mashed up by the teeth and tongue, while saliva softens it, ready for swallowing. Your tongue pushes the food into your throat. 



When the food has been sufficiently chewed and softened in the mouth, the tongue pushes the ball of food into the throat. It is...Read More >>When the food has been sufficiently chewed and softened in the mouth, the tongue pushes the ball of food into the throat. It is then squeezed along a stretchy tube called the oesophagus. Muscles behind the food pinch together, pushing it onwards, while the muscles ahead of it relax to allow it space to move into.

From oesophagus to stomach

The muscles in the wall of the oesophagus force the food to the stomach. Here powerful digestive juices and the churning action of the stomach change it into a mush.

An average meal takes between three and six hours to be digested in the stomach.

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