Human digestive system

The food we eat has to be broken down into other substances that our bodies can use. This is called digestion. Without digestion, we could not absorb food into our bodies and use it.

Digestion happens in the digestive system, which begins at the mouth and ends at the anus.

The human digestive system, from the salivary glands at the back of the throat, through the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine large intestine, appendix, rectum and anus.Parts of the digestive system

After we swallow, our food passes through these organs in turn:

  • oesophagus or gullet
  • stomach
  • small intestine
  • large intestine

Stages of digestion

Different things happen to food as it passes through the digestive system:

  • food is digested in the mouth, stomach and small intestine
  • digested food is absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine
  • excess water is absorbed back into the body in the large intestine
  • any undigested food passes out of the anus as faeces when we go to the toilet

Liver and pancreas

The liver and the pancreas play an important part in digestion. The liver produces bile, which helps the digestion of lipids (fats and oil). The pancreas produces biological catalysts called digestive enzymes which speed up the digestive reactions.

Digestion is the process by which food is broken down to be absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed around the body