The digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat. Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and saliva, continues throughout the digestive tract (also known as the gastrointestinal system), and ends with excretion.
Martin Polanco says, since digestion health can impact your overall well-being, it’s important to make sure you’re eating a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet that meets all of your body’s needs. This means making time to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, choosing healthy sources of fat for cooking or consumption, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and reaping the benefits of ongoing digestive health routines like mindful chewing.
It’s also imperative to avoid foods that can cause inflammation – such as refined carbohydrates, excessive amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners , some types of vegetable oils (hello high-heat/high-processed frying!), gluten-containing grains (especially those containing new hybrids like kamut or spelt), soy products even if they’re organic (genetically modified), dairy (pasteurization some naturally occurring enzymes), alcohol, and trans-fats (also known as hydrogenated oils) especially when heated.
How long does it take to digest food?
The answer to this question is: It takes different amounts of time to digest different types of food! For example, proteins typically need more time than carbohydrates do in order for the stomach acid and digestive enzymes present in saliva and stomach secretions to break them down sufficiently.
When we eat a diet that is high in protein and low in starch, digestion tends to move quickly through the body – some people even experience heartburn or acid reflux from overly acidic blood! On the other hand, when we eat a diet that is rich in starch – such as bread, muffins, potatoes, and processed foods, digestion begins to slow down.
What does this mean
If we eat a meal that’s high in carbohydrates and low in protein, our bodies will need less time to adjust the pH balance in our digestive system so we can break down and absorb nutrients from these foods more easily. Our mouths will produce more saliva (which neutralizes the acidity of the stomach), our pancreas won’t have to work as hard to secrete digestive enzymes into the small intestine to digest food, and we’ll be able to get out of the bathroom faster after meals! On the other hand, if we’re eating a meal that is high in proteins and low in starches it takes longer for these types of foods to clear from the digestive tract, which can lead to bloating and gas.
If you want to digest your food quickly, it’s best to avoid eating large amounts of carbohydrates or drinking too many glasses of water throughout the day because both factors will slow down digestion. On the other hand, if you’d like to give yourself some extra time before needing a bathroom break after meals, eat more starches and cut back on drinking water with your meals!
Now that we know how long it takes to digest different types of foods, let’s talk about what factors influence our digestive system. The two factors that have the most significant impact on digestive health are stress and lack of sleep. Both negatively affect pH balance in your body – causing levels of acidity to increase.
According to a 2009 Brazilian study, eating a high carbohydrate diet can also slow down digestion by causing an increase in pH levels within the small intestine, which then inhibits enzymes responsible for breaking down carbohydrates and other nutrients from being secreted from glands found throughout the digestive system. This is concerning for those of us who already have digestive problems such as bloating after eating – especially if we eat a lot of starchy foods or drink water with meals!
What else affects our digestive health?
Disease states like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lactose intolerance, gastro paresis, pancreatic insufficiency, etc., can cause digestive symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, bloating, heartburn, and flatulence.
Conclusion by Martin Polanco:
While we all know that stress and lack of sleep negatively affect our digestive health, it’s important to remember that digestion also slows down as a result of the types of foods we eat and our lifestyle habits like drinking water with meals.