We fuel our bodies with food on a daily basis (sometimes more than we need to) but have you ever wondered what actually happens when we have chewed up that delicious croissant or sandwich? Once the taste has gone and we have chewed up and swallowed the food, we no longer think about the next stage and how that food effects our body.
I could go into detail about the digestion process but that can get boring so I’ll keep it simple.
It is possible that you are eating something now whilst reading this so you can follow the journey of your food first hand as we go and if not, you will know for the next time you eat.
When food is swallowed, it travels down the esophagus into the stomach where mechanical and chemical digestion takes place. We all knew that right? But did you know that the food is broken down into chemical building blocks (simple sugars, amino acids, fatty acids and glycerol) and this process usually takes around 4 hours? This broken down food (chyme) is then transferred to the small intestine where most of the enzymatic digestion occurs (about 90%) and most of the nutrients are absorbed due to the length (around 20 metres) and large surface area. This process usually takes about 3-6 hours. The next stage of digestion takes place in the large intestine where the water and some nutrients (vitamin K) are removed from the waste left over from the small intestine and are absorbed into the blood (7-16 hours). The leftover solid waste is then stored in the rectum (12-14 hours) before being excreted through the anus.
Along with drinking water on a regular basis, it is important to eat nutritious foods so that the body can absorb the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep you in tip top condition. Each macronutrient, vitamin and mineral that we consume has a unique job to carry out within the body so we must provide enough of each in order for our muscles to grow and repair after training, our bones to stay strong and healthy and our immune system to work at its optimum level.