The process of breaking down food into molecules the body can use is called digestion. Digestion occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, or digestive tract, a long, winding tube which begins at the mouth and winds through the body to the anus. The gastrointestinal tract, shown in Figure 48-6, is divided into several distinct organs. These organs carry out the digestive process. Along the gastrointestinal tract are other organs that are not part of the gastrointestinal tract, but that aid in digestion by delivering secretions into the tract through ducts.
The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal tract, salivary glands, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. These organs break down food into nutrients that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
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