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A chef salad consisting of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cheese, deli meats, and a sliced hard-boiled egg is arranged on a plate.
Figure 4.1 The digestive process breaks down food and fuels the body for function. (credit: modification of work “Chef Salad” by Gesalbte/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)

Eating food can be enjoyable, but it is also necessary for survival. When food is consumed, the body breaks it down, and it becomes the fuel for energy and function. The level of nutrition in food impacts the amount of energy gained in the body. The greater the nutritional value of food, the better for the body. The chapter will explore the digestive process and will review the role the nurse plays in promoting nutrition for gut health.

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