The Digestive System (cont.)
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What Is Digestion?
Digestion is the complex process of turning the food you eat into the energy you need to survive. The digestion process also involves creating waste to be eliminated.
The digestive tract (or gut) is a long twisting tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. It is made up of a series of muscles that coordinate the movement of food and other cells that produce enzymes and hormones to aid in the breakdown of food. Along the way are three other organs that are needed for digestion: the liver, gallbladder, and the pancreas.
Food's Journey Through the Digestive System
Stop 1: The Mouth
The mouth is the beginning of the digestive system, and, in fact, digestion starts here before you even take the first bite of a meal. The smell of food triggers the salivary glands in your mouth to secrete saliva, causing your mouth to water. When you actually taste the food, saliva increases.
Once you start chewing and breaking the food down into pieces small enough to be digested other mechanisms come into play. More saliva is produced to begin the process of breaking down food into a form your body can absorb and use. In addition, "juices" are produced that will help to further break down food.
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