How your tummy works: from top to bottom

15th May, 2023
How your tummy works - From top to bottom.

What happens in your tummy when you eat?

We think about food a lot. But have you thought about what actually happens in your tummy when you eat? A lot goes on to turn that banana or bowl of pasta into energy!

When we talk about your tummy, we’re talking about the long tube driving your digestion all the way from your mouth right down to your bum (aka the digestive tract). It’s made up of lots of muscles and organs that work together to break down your food, so you can keep your body moving.

Getting to know your tummy up close and personal is a super important step towards taking control of your health. Understanding your inner workings can also help you suss out your tummy triggers, to tackle any troubles – it’s all about wellness from within. And that’s exactly what we’re here for at Tummy MOT.

Here’s how your tummy works in a nutshell – from top to bottom (literally).

Step 1: Gearing up for grub. Before you eat, your tummy is already working to get prepped. Ever heard a rumbling noise when you’re hungry? That’s your tummy getting ready for your meal by releasing digestive juices.

Step 2: Mushing in the mouth. As soon as you start chewing, not only are your teeth crushing up food into small bits, but your saliva is also breaking down your food into sugars. The scientific name for chewing is mastication.

Step 3: From swallowing to the stomach. Swallowing sends your chewed up food down to your acidic stomach. Here, those stomach muscles work hard to grind the food until it turns into a thick liquid. This liquid is called chyme – pronounced “kyme”.

Step 4: Inside your intestines. This is where your liver and pancreas also join the party, balancing the acidity by bringing in bile and other chemicals. Now the nutrients from your food get absorbed into the bloodstream and travel around the body to where they’re needed most.

Step 5: Coming into the colon. Your colon is home to billions of tiny living things called microbes (including bacteria, yeast and even viruses). Any unabsorbed bits of food, like fibre, now make their way here to be broken down by these powerful microbes. In turn, they produce chemicals that are linked to a whole host of health benefits. They also produce gas, which is why we fart!

Step 6: Producing your poop. Any liquid left over is absorbed by your colon and our poop is formed. This rests up in the rectum (aka your back passage) until nature calls and it’s toilet time.

So there you have it. A whistle-stop tour of your tummy from top to bottom.

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