Take a moment to think about your absolute favorite food. Did your mouth fill with saliva? Guess what! You just activated the amazing digestive system in your body. Your digestive system is incredible – and surprising. It takes about 1-2 days to fully process your food… and here’s how:


Things to remember: The G-I tract is made up of the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. It is the tube that starts in your mouth and ends in your anus. Your GI tract contains helpful bacteria.

  1. First, you think about food. YES- you just think about it, and your body starts working.

  2. Then you chew and moisten your food with saliva to make it easier to process.

  3. The saliva-mixed mushy food is called bolus. It moves from your throat to your esophagus.

  4. In under a minute, your muscle contractions in your esophagus push the food through to your stomach which contains acid that destroys bacteria that the food may contain.

  5. After 4 hours, that stomach acid breaks down your food further.

  6. Your food, which is now liquid-y, it goes into the small intestine. The small intestine is a long tube.

  7. Your small intestine converts that liquid into energy and fuel.

  8. Different chemicals in parts of the body like the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver break down the energy into tiny particles that the blood can absorb.

  9. After 1-2 days since chewing your food, everything that is nutritious in absorbed.

  10. The rest is considered waste, and moved to the large intestine, which is a wide tube.

  11. This waste is stored in the rectum, which sends a notification to your brain that something needs to be released.

  12. Your anus can tell if your waste is liquid or solid. The external sphincter helps you keep that waste in your body until you find a safe place to release it.

  13. Once in the bathroom, your brain tells those muscles to relax and the waste is expelled.

This system inside a healthy body works like a well-oiled machine. All the while, you are likely not even thinking about the work that your body is doing! It is like having a very trustworthy assistant.

Always consult your physician before beginning any nutrition or fitness program, especially if you are currently being treated for any illness or medical condition, taking prescription medication, or following a doctor recommended diet.
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