44. The digestion

The process of digestion begins when food is taken into the mouth. Chewing ^ еа^ the food into smaller pieces, thereby exposing more surfaces to the saliva. Saliva moistens the food, so facilitating swallowing, and it contains the enzyme which begins the conversion of carbohydrates into simple sugars.

The major processes of digestion do not occur until the food passes down through the esophagus into the stomach. The stomach has both a chemical and a physical function. The walls of the stomach, which are protected by a layer of mucus, secrete gastric juices composed of several enzymes and hydrochloric acid. The most powerful enzyme is pepsin, which begins the process of converting proteins into amino acids. In addition, waves of contraction and relaxation, known as peristalsis, move the walls of the stomach. They turn the food particles into a'semi—solid mass known as chyme.

From the stomach, the chyme passes into the small intestine through the pyloric sphincter. Proteins have not been completely broken down, carbohydrates are still being converted into simple sugars, and fats remain in large globules. In the small intestine the process of digestion is completed by the action of the bile, which is secreted by the liver and released by the gallbladder, and by the action of various enzymes which are secreted by the pancreas and walls of the small in testine. Absorption of the products of digestion taken place mainly through the wall of the small intestine.


Chewing movements of the teeth, tongue, cheeks, lips and lower jaw break down food, mix it with saliva and roll it into a moist, soft mass called a bolus, suitable for swallowing.

Having been rendered suitable for swallowing the food is pushed back into the pharynx by the tongue, and enters the esopha gus to be transported rapidly down the neck and thorax, through the diaphragm to the stomach. The mucous membrane of the stomach is equipped with millions of glands secreting mucus, digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid.

The small intestine is the region within which the process of digestion is completed and its products are absorbed. Although its epithelial lining forms many small glands, they mainly produce mucus. Most of the enzymes present are secreted by the pancreas, whose duct, opens into the duodenum. Bile from the liver also enters the duodenum.

The absorption of the product's of digestion also takes place in the small intestine, although water, salts, and glucose are ab sorbed from the stomach and the large intestine.

The large intestine is chiefly concerned with the preparation, storage and evacuation of undigestible and unab—sorbable food residue.

New words

process of digestion – процесс переваривания

dewing – жевание

saliva – слюна

to moisten – увлажнять

enzyme – фермент

carbohydrates – углеводы

stomach – живот

tongue – язык

hydrochloric acid – соляная кислота absorption – поглощение

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