Digestive system

I expect grown ups encourage you to eat your food up, and tell you that fruit and vegetables are good for you don’t they? They may say that eating helps you grow big and strong. And this is true. But why is it true?

Food is fuel for your body. Mum or dad will put fuel into the car at a petrol station to make the car go. If the car ran out of petrol, the car would stop. If they put the wrong type of fuel into the car, the car wouldn’t work very well; it would be sick and need to go to be mended at the garage.

This is a bit like us. We need food and drink as fuel and good food and drink helps us to run or work well. Food gives us energy…to move, breathe, keep our heart beating and all of the many things that happen in our body that we don’t even know is going on.

So, first you take a mouthful of food, and begin to chew it. The saliva or spit in your mouth starts to break the food up, dissolves some of it and, as you swallow, it slips down into your food pipe which is called the OESOPHAGUS. Great name isn’t it? The oesophagus takes the food into your STOMACH (tummy) where the food is swished up into a thick liquid. This takes some time - and food can stay in the stomach for 4 hours.

Then is passes in to our SMALL INTESTINE where juices from the LIVER and PANCREAS (the pancreas is hidden behind the stomach), help break the food down some more. The food gets absorbed from the small intestine and into our body through the blood. What doesn’t get used passes into the LARGE INTESTINE (colon) where water is sucked out of the sloppy left over unwanted food and the what is left firms up. This then passes into the RECTUM and when you poo, this is what comes out.

So the remains of what you ate looks very different from what comes out as waste doesn’t it? But that is all poo is…what our bodies don’t need or want.

And all the food your body does want gets used for energy which helps with everything you do and everything your body does even when you are asleep. We have to be careful not to eat more than we need as the body stores food as well, in case we can’t eat. But sometimes we store too much and we get a bit too big and that isn’t good for us.

Our body is amazing isn’t it?