Digestion occurs in three phases. Mechanical digestion is the physical breakdown of large pieces of food into smaller pieces which can be got at by digestive enzymes. In chemical digestion, enzymes break down food into the small molecules the body can use. Finally, the nutrients are absorbed into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream the nutrients are taken to the liver, which is a kind of chemical factory for the body.
After we swallow food, it travels down a muscular tube to the stomach. There, it is mashed into a mixture like soup. The mixture passes into the small intestine, where tiny bits of food pass into the bloodstream. The food that is still left goes into the large intestine. Finally, waste products leave the body. Digestion usually takes about 18 hours. Food stays in the stomach for about three hours. If uncoiled, the small intestine would be about six meters (20 feet) long. Many digestive tracts are about as long as a bus.
- Morris, Neil; Ting Morris (1998). Jim Miles, Lynne French (ed.). Children's First Encyclopedia. Branka Surla, Rosie Alexander. Miles Kelly Publishing, Bardfield, Essex. ISBN 1-84084-332-2. Accessed 13 July 2010.
- My First Book on the Human Body. Bath: Robert Frederick Ltd. 2004. ISBN 0-7554-3506-0. Accessed 13 July 2010.