How Digestion Works
Digestion starts the moment food enters your mouth as chewing and saliva enzymes begin to break the food down.
When you swallow, the food moves down your oesophagus ready to enter your stomach.
The food mixes with gastric acid and digestive enzymes in the stomach, which breaks it down even further.
In the small intestines this mix comes into contact with your body’s final set of digestive juices, produced by your liver, pancreas and gallbladder. Densely packed ‘fingers’ called villi line the wall of the small intestines and start to absorb the nutrients from the food into the bloodstream.
Your colon contains a complex ecosystem of beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms, including Bifidobacteria. It’s this gut flora that help you digest food that cannot be broken down by your body’s digestive juices – without them you wouldn’t be able to extract as much energy or as many nutrients.
Any undigested food then moves to the large intestines where bacteria continue to help break it down. Water is also absorbed here and any residual substances are accumulated, ready to be excreted.