How Digestion Works
Most people think that when they eat, the food falls into the stomach where there is a pool of strong acid that breaks the food down, it then moves into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed and then on to the large intestine or colon. It's a little different than that.
This is what is really supposed to happen;
Your body contains enzymes to help break food down. Some of these are in the saliva in your mouth, others are in the upper part of the stomach and a few more are secreted by the pancreas and small intestine. Food has naturally occurring enzymes that help digestion. Different enzymes digest different food types such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats. These different types are introduced at different stages in the digestive process.
You should eat fresh, enzyme rich foods. As you chew the food it gets broken down and mixed with saliva in the mouth, which contains its own enzymes. This begins the process of breaking the food down immediately.
When this mixture enters the stomach, it doesn’t just drop into a pool of acid. The stomach has two parts, an upper and a lower. In the upper part no acid is present here. This is where much initial breaking up of the food takes place, up to 70% of the breaking down of food occurs here and its all done with enzymes! Food remains in the upper stomach for 20 to 60 minutes.
As this partially broken down food mix moves on to the lower stomach, acid and pepsin are secreted and the enzymes are destroyed. The acid and pepsin go to work breaking down the tougher foodstuffs like proteins.
The process continues as this mixture moves into the small intestine where the acid is neutralized and still more enzymes are secreted by the pancreas. The mixture eventually is broken down enough for the nutrients to enter the bloodstream to be used by the body.