To live, our bodies must take in food and then break it down into its basic components. Then it must put these components back together to form our body tissues like our hands, feet, hair, skin and so on. This is one of the most important tasks our bodies perform each day. It involves a series of critical steps, all of which must work right for us to be healthy and happy.
Digestion refers to the breakdown of food into smaller components that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. This digestion or catabolism is divided into two types;
- the mechanical digestion of food that occurs in the mouth when it is physically broken up into smaller pieces.
- the chemical digestion that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract when the food is broken down into small molecules by digestive enzymes.
The digestive system is undoubtedly one of the most used and abused body systems.
Around 40% of people have at least one digestive symptom at any one time, according to Dr. Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at University College Hospital in London.