Overview of the Process: Anatomy & Physiology of the Digestive System

As food passes through the digestive system, it follows this general process:

  1. Mouth, Teeth, Tongue, Salivary Glands — Food is broken down in the mouth by chewing and mixing with saliva.
  2. Esophagus — Secretes mucous and transports food to the stomach.
  3. Stomach — Continues the digestive process by releasing acids and enzymes and churning the food in order to further break it down.
  4. Small Intestine — The major events of absorption occur here.
  5. Large Intestine — Completes absorption, manufactures certain vitamins, forms feces, expels feces.

When our digestion is strong, our body feels lights and strong. We have plenty of energy… We sleep deeply and wake up feeling refreshed. Our skin color is good, our breath and body odor pleasant, and we have a high resistance to disease… We can usually assess the condition of our digestive system by looking at our stools after defecation… Some things to look for are whether the stool is too hard and compacted, or too loose, whether it tends to sink or float, and the intensity of its odor. The healthiest stool is well-formed, almost like the shape of our intestines, floats, and doesn’t have a very strong odor. – Gary Kraftsow