What Are the Three Main Functions of the Digestive System?

The three main functions of the human digestive system are to break food down into chyme for the body’s use, to secrete and absorb nutrients and bodily fluids into the gastrointestinal tract or the blood, and to store and eliminate waste. The digestive system has major parts and accessory parts.

The seven major parts of the digestive system are the salivary glands, the pharynx, the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine and the rectum. The accessory organs are the liver, the pancreas and the gallbladder, which also aid in digestion.

After food is swallowed and reaches the stomach, the high acidity kills bacteria and helps create chyme. The chyme is passed to the small intestine, where nutrients and some fluid is absorbed. The large intestine then absorbs the largest amount of fluid, and what is not used is eliminated as waste.