Digestion starts when you think about food. For example, try thinking about a big, juicy lemon. In your mind, take that lemon and slice it into quarters. Now take that lemon quarter, put it in your mouth, and start sucking on it.
What happened while you were thinking about sucking on that lemon? You started salivating, didn’t you? So digestion actually starts when you think about your food. Cool, huh? Saliva’s main job is to break down carbohydrates. That’s why it’s important to actually enjoy your food—so that you can produce enough saliva to process it.
Then you swallow your food, and it goes into your stomach. Your stomach’s main job is to digest proteins in your food and break them down into amino acids. The food is then passed into your small intestines where it comes into contact with digestive enzymes produced in your pancreas. There are enzymes to help break down the proteins further, along with enzymes to help digest carbohydrates and fats.
There are actually three primary types of digestive enzymes—protease, amylase, and lipase. Their jobs are to break down the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This is why it is so important to take care of your pancreas—and also why pancreatic cancer is so deadly. It robs the body of the ability to digest food and break these proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into amino acids. If you don’t have the ability to do this, you can die. Most people think that the pancreas’ main job is just to produce insulin, but it is much more than that.
Your gallbladder stores bile, which digests fats. When you eat what I call a “big, fatty meal,” your gallbladder squirts bile into this fat and dissolves it. Have you ever squirted liquid dishwashing detergent into a greasy pan and watched how the detergent seems to just dissolve the grease? That’s what your gallbladder does—it dissolves the fats so you can absorb them.