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We need food for two reasons:
However, food is made up of large, complex chemicals that our cells can’t absorb directly. It needs to be broken down into small chemicals that can be absorbed into our blood, which then carries and distributes it to the individual cells of our body.
This is where our digestive system comes in.
Your digestive system is basically one long tube plus a few accessory organs that release “juices” into the tube.
The tube is called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also called the digestive tract or the alimentary tract/canal.
GI tract :
The process of digestion begins in the mouth and, after the food goes down the esophagus, continues in the stomach. However, most of the work of digestion takes place in the small intestine. The large intestine deals with the remaining parts of the food that can’t absorbed.
Mechanical digestion, also known as physical digestion, is the process of physically breaking down the food we eat into smaller and smaller pieces. This happens in the mouth when our teeth chews on our food. It also happens in the stomach, where the churning action of the stomach — pushing food forward, grinding it, pushing it back to repeat the process, and so on — eventually makes the food particles small enough to pass into the passageway to the small intestine.
Chemical digestion is the process of changing the actual chemical structure of the food particles and turning it into a form that can be absorbed into our blood, for distribution to all the cells of the body. This process can involve several steps that take place in different parts of the GI tract.
There are lots of “juices” in the digestive system that are in charge of chemical digestion, several kinds for each type of food (fat, carbohydrates, proteins). One example is the acid in our stomachs, which begins the process of chemically digesting proteins.
If you’re fond of big words, here’s what is produced at the very end of digestion:
In these final forms, they can now be absorbed into our body.
Some types of food take longer to digest than others, but generally it takes 1-3 days for the food we eat to make the entire journey from our mouth to…well, you know.
Answer our fun worksheets below!
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Printable (PDF) versions of these worksheets are also available for free download — just click on links provided before each worksheet.
Note on the Worksheets
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