Digestion begins before you’ve even eaten something. Just a smell, a visual or a thought of food gets your saliva beginning to form - and that’s where the digestive process starts.
This saliva breaks down the food a little, making it easier to swallow by reducing it to mush. The tongue pushes the food around the mouth, ensuring it all gets chewed up by the teeth, and it also aids with swallowing by pushing a ball of chewed food towards the oesophagus, the opening to your throat.
The food travels down the oesophagus, which isn’t just a transportation tube, it also helps to squeeze the food smaller with muscles in its walls.
Once the food has arrived in the stomach, at the bottom of the oesophagus, it gets broken down. The stomach is like a food blender: mashing, mixing and churning up the food into even smaller bits. A special liquid called stomach acid helps dissolves the food before it gets sent to the small intestine for further processing.
The small intestine is like a long garden hose, except the liquids that travel through it slowly disappear through its thin walls. The small intestines take the mashed food from the stomach and makes the food pieces even smaller, so that the nutrients can be sent to the bloodstream and delivered to the parts of your body that need them.
The large intestine is like a bigger, shorter and thicker hose compared to the small intestine, and it takes the leftover chunks that didn’t go through the walls of the small intestine and turns it into poo! It stores the poo until you’re ready to go to the toilet.
It’s also worth noting the work of the pancreas and kidneys! The pancreas looks a bit like a leaf, and it is hidden behind your stomach. Its job is to build enzymes and hormones that help with the digestion of food and make sure we have the right amount of sugar in our blood.
The kidneys give the kidney bean its name because they look very similar, both in shape and colour! The kidneys are a bit like a washing machine cleaning the blood. The dirty liquid that it removes from the blood comes out of your body as wee.