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Picture Your Digestive System


Updated July 26, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Your Upper Digestive System
Picture Your Digestive System

The process of digestion begins in your mouth as you chew food. Saliva not only adds moisture to food, but also adds enzymes that begin the process of breaking down the components of food.

As you swallow, food moves into your esophagus, where it travels downward to your stomach.

In your stomach, the act of digestion begins in earnest. Your stomach stores and churns the food you have consumed and releases pepsin and hydrochloric acid, both of which break down the components of food, resulting in a substance called chyme. After approximately two to three hours, the chyme is moved out of your stomach as it makes its way along your GI tract.

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