Food in the Small Intestines
The small intestines, which connect with the stomach, are long, hollow tubes all curled up. They, too, have millions of tiny glands that make juices like saliva. They, too, have muscle walls that help to churn the food and pass it on. The small intestines, if they weren’t all curled up, would look something like a garden hose, only they are about half as thick. The intestinal juices of the intestines act upon the food and prepare it to be absorbed into the body, where it will supply energy and stuff to grow on.
Do you know what it means to be absorbed? Here’s an experiment you can try in the kitchen that will tell about absorption: First, take some ordinary water from the faucet and spill a little of it on to the kitchen table. Next, take a kitchen towel-paper or cloth, it makes no difference-and place it directly on the spilled water. Wait a few seconds, and then pick up the towel. What happened to the water? It’s not on the table anymore. It has been absorbed into the towel. Much the same thing happens inside us. The food that we have eaten is digested in the small intestines and is absorbed through the walls of the intestines and goes to various parts of our body where it supplies energy for us to run and play and think. And it also supplies us with materials that make us grow and stay strong.
Food in the Large Intestines
By the time the food has passed through the small intestines, almost all the nourishing, valuable, important things it contained have been absorbed into the body. What is left is mostly water and waste material. This water and waste material pass into the large intestines, which connect with the small intestines. In the large intestines water is absorbed through the walls and into the body. This is important because our bodies must have plenty of water if they are to work properly.
Food is broken down and churned in the stomach before it passes into the small Intestines, where real digestion starts, aided by secretions from the liver, the pancreas, and cells lining the walls of the intestines.
The large intestines are about twice the width of the small intestines but not nearly so long. The inner lining of the large intestines has millions of glands that can absorb water, and its walls have muscles that contract and push along the waste material. By the time the waste material has passed through the large intestines and has lost most of its water, it becomes solid and somewhat hard. And when it reaches the very end of the large intestines, it causes us to want to have a bowel movement and get rid of it. When we do have a bowel movement, we get rid of all the useless solid wastes.
How long do you think it takes from the time we first eat a meal until it goes clown the foodpipe, reaches the stomach, then goes into the small intestines, then into the large intestines, and finally is gotten rid of when we have a bowel movement? For food to slide down the foodpipe into the stomach takes only a few seconds, but the food then stays in the stomach for a few hours while it is being churned up and digested. It usually takes from breakfast to lunchtime for the food to pass out of the stomach into the small intestines. When the stomach is good and empty, you will begin to feel hungry again. This happens about lunchtime, and so you eat lunch. It takes from lunchtime until supper time for the stomach to empty again, and when it does, you will feel hungry once again and are ready for supper. And, of course, we all know that it takes from supper time until the next morning before you again feel empty and hungry and are ready for another breakfast.
And so we see that it takes almost an entire clay for food to pass through our bodies, from the time we take it into our mouths until we get rid of its wastes. In the meantime, it has given us all the things we need to grow and be healthy and happy.