Part of the small intestine of the digestive system
, between the duodenum and the colon, that absorbs digested food.
Its wall is muscular so that waves of contraction (peristalsis) can mix the food and push it forward. Numerous fingerlike projections, or villi, point inwards from the wall, increasing the surface area available for absorption. The ileum has an excellent blood supply, which receives the food molecules passing through the wall and transports them to the liver via the hepatic portal vein.
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