Know the Process of Digestion of Food and Absorption of Nutrients in the Body

Every food consumed will go through the process of digestion of food in the body. Through this process, energy and various types of important nutrients will be produced so that the body can function properly. Therefore, gastrointestinal health must always be maintained.


The process of digestion of food involves various organs in the digestive system, such as the stomach, liver, pancreas, bile, and intestines. Each organ of the body has its own function and role when digesting food.

Process of Digestion of Food and Absorption of Nutrients

After being chewed and swallowed, the food will be digested and absorbed by the nutrients, while the leftover food will be excreted through the feces by the body. This digestion process can take about 24-72 hours.

In addition to the type and amount of food, the length of the process of digestion of food also depends on gender, metabolism, and certain medical conditions, for example in people with digestive problems or impaired absorption of nutrients.

The following are the stages of the process of digestion and absorption of food that occur in the body:

1. Refining food in the mouth

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract. When food is chewed in the mouth, the salivary glands produce saliva to soften the food. Saliva contains the enzyme amylase which functions to process carbohydrates into glucose and energy.

After the food is finished chewing, the tongue will push the refined food behind the mouth into the esophagus or esophagus. Next, the food will be brought to the stomach.

2. The breakdown of food in the stomach

In the stomach, food and drink will mix with digestive enzymes and stomach acid to be broken down and mashed again until the texture is liquid or resembles a soft paste.

Stomach acid also functions to eradicate germs and viruses in food or drinks that can cause infectious diseases. After being digested in the stomach, the stomach muscles will push the food to move into the small intestine.

3. Breakdown of nutrients in the small intestine

The small intestine continues the digestive process using enzymes secreted by the pancreas and bile from the liver. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from food. In addition, the bacteria in the small intestine also produce enzymes to digest carbohydrates.

4. Absorption of nutrients in the small intestine

After food is broken down, the walls of the small intestine then absorb water and nutrients from the food into the bloodstream. Meanwhile, the remains of food that is not digested or absorbed will be carried to the large intestine.

5. Compaction of food waste in the large intestine

The main job of the large intestine is to absorb water and nutrients left over from food waste, so that it becomes denser and forms stool.

The stool is then stored in the rectum until it is pushed and expelled along with toxins, waste, and excess fluid from the body through the anus during defecation.

Adequate water and fiber are two important factors that support the smooth process of digestion and absorption of food.

Therefore, in order for the digestive process to run smoothly, you need to drink enough water at least 8 glasses per day and increase the consumption of fibrous foods, such as vegetables and fruits.

You also need to regularly check with your doctor to monitor your health condition, including the health of your gastrointestinal tract.

If you have problems digesting food and have diarrhea, constipation, malabsorption, or malnutrition, you can consult a doctor for an examination and get the right treatment.