On the face of it, many of us are not entirely sure how our digestive system works or the important role it plays in living in optimal health.
For the most part, once food leaves our mouths it also leaves our minds—that is, until we eventually see the “bits and pieces” are revealed in one way or the other.
Which leaves the question what happens during the digestive process, and how long does this process usually take?
How long it takes to digest food
As a whole, food will take about one to three days to travel through the digestive area. The precise interval is obviously reliant on how much as well as what type of food has been consumed. Interestingly enough, other factors include gender, metabolic rate, as well as whether there are any digestive problems that could hamper or delay this process.
At first, food travels relatively quickly through your digestive system. Within 6 to 8 hours, the food has moved its way through your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
Once in your large intestine, the partially digested contents of your meal can sit for more than a day while it’s broken down even more.
The rate at which food breaks down in the body is also based on what has been eaten. Protein-based food such as meat can properly digest within two days.
This is due to the fact that the proteins and fats contained within meat take time to be absorbed.
On the other hand, there are foods such as fruits and vegetables that are packed with fibre and can move through the digestive tract within a day or less.
Sugary junk foods such as chocolate tend to digest the quickest. This is because the body is able to shred these much quicker.
How Does Digestion Take Place?
By definition digestion is the method the human body uses to absorb food as well as the essential nutrients required for it to function properly. Any remaining materials without any nutritional value is systematically removed.
The Digestion Process:
During eating the mouth releases saliva which contains enzymes that break the starches in food. This produces a bolus- that mushy stuff that makes food stress-free to swallow.
When this is swallowed, the food travels down the oesophagus — the pipe that joins the mouth to the stomach. A muscular opening -the lower oesophageal sphincter- opens to allow the food to progress into the stomach.
Acids that are contained within the stomach continue to break the food even more, resulting in a gooey combination of intestinal liquids and partly broken down food, called chyme. This combination proceeds to move toward the small intestine.
Once there, the pancreas and liver add their own digestive juices to the digestion cocktail.
Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are all broken down by the pancreatic juices while bile from the gallbladder dissolves fat.
Important materials such as vitamins, nutrients, and water travel through the small intestine into the bloodstream-the undigested remnants move towards the large intestine.
The large intestine takes away leftover water and nutrients from the foodstuff. The rest turns into a firm waste, known as stool.
The rectum stores stool until the body is all set for a bowel movement.
There are a few circumstances that can disturb the digestion process leaving you with some unkind consequences such as stomach-ache, constipation, or diarrhoea. Let’s look at a few common problems:
- Acid reflux- This occurs as soon as the lower oesophageal sphincter deteriorates. This lets acid move from the stomach into the oesophagus causing heartburn.
- Celiac disease- When the immune system starts acting aggressive and damages the intestines after eating gluten.
- Constipation- This is simply having less bowel movements than normal. When nature calls, the stool is hard and difficult to pass. Constipation is responsible for warning signs such as bloating and stomach pain.
- Inflammatory bowel disease- This medical problem takes account of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These state of affairs cause chronic inflammation in the intestinal area which can be responsible for ulcers, discomfort, weight loss, malnourishment, and increase the danger of colon cancer.
- Irritable bowel syndrome- Can have painful symptoms such as diarrhoea, and constipation, however it is not linked to cancer or additional grave digestive illnesses.
- Lactose intolerance- This refers to the insufficient enzymes required to digest the sugar found in dairy foods. Consuming dairy products when a person is lactose intolerant, can cause bloating and diarrhoea.
Improve Your Digestion
In order to let food, move effortlessly through the digestive system and avoid problems such as diarrhoea and constipation, here are a few ways to improve your digestion:
Eat greens and whole grains
Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are an abundant source of fibre. Fibre aids in moving food from end to end in the digestive system easily. It is also advised to limit your red meat and processed foods intake.
Probiotics are some helpful bacteria which are efficient at eradicating the dangerous bugs in the digestive tract. Probiotics can be found in yogurt and supplements.
Keeping the body active allows the digestive system to move. Walking after eating can safeguard you against harmful circumstances such as bloating. Exercise stabilizes the body’s weight, decreasing the dangers of some cancers and illnesses arise in the digestive system.
Plenty of Sleep
A lesser known fact is that a lack of sleep is connected to obesity. This can play a role in problems with the digestive system, so a decent amount of shut-eye is advisable for a happy tummy.
Try to Lower Stress
Extra stress can deteriorate digestive disorders such as heartburn and gallstones. Relaxation methods for example meditation and yoga can assist in calming the mind and body.
Your digestive system might not be on your mind all the time, except when you encounter some uncomfortable problems such as bloating and indigestion
Be mindful of what you eat and exercise regularly to keep your digestion functioning smoothly.