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Animals: Human Digestive System

Animals: Human Digestive System

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson provides an overview that explains the processes of digestion in humans.

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When humans eat food, the body needs to process it.  The path of digestion that food takes through the body is called the digestive system.  As soon as a piece of food is eaten, digestion begins.  In the mouth, teeth shred food into smaller pieces and saliva breaks down certain types of food.


The tube that food travels through between the mouth and stomach is called the esophagus.  The esophagus is like a water slide.  Walls of the esophagus are coated in mucus that aid in the passage of food.  Muscles push food through the esophagus in a series of contractions called peristalsis.


Once food reaches the stomach, muscles mix food with acidic digestive juices.  Stomach acid helps to break down food even more and prepare it for the small intestine.


In the small intestine, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are digested and absorbed.  Nutrients are captured through the wall of the small intestine, while waste products continue to the large intestine.


The large intestine absorbs the remaining water from food waste.  Bacteria in the large intestine aid in digestion.  There are 10 times more bacteria in the digestive system than there are cells in the entire human body. 

Excrement is the name for waste that is removed from the body through an opening called the anus.

Animals: Human Digestive System