Lets talk about Digestion

How long does it take to digest food?

March 17, 20242 min read

Whether you’re planning for a swim, run or a walk after a meal, the first thought that comes to mind might be how soon can I go?   Any factor that disrupts your digestive process can lead to constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea or heartburn

For humans, digestion is one of the fundamental processes for survival and staying healthy. Without proper digestion, human bodies lack the necessary nutrition required to produce energy which helps us maintain vital body functions.

The digestive system breaks nutrients from food into small particles for your body to absorb and use for energy, growth and cell repair.

It may take between six and eight hours for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine. Digestive enzymes and acid in your stomach break down the food which is then passed through to the small intestine.

Maximum absorption of food takes place in the small and large intestines. After passing through the stomach and small intestine, the food enters the large intestine. It may take up to 36 hours to move through the entire colon, according to the Mayo Clinic. In total, it might take between two and five days from the moment you swallowed food to empty your stomach fully, depending on the individual.

What foods digest fast?

Simple carbohydrates, such as white flour and refined sugars, are easier to digest than complex nutrients like protein or fats. Cooked vegetables, eggs, applesauce, white rice, white bread, and salmon are also known for being easy to digest. The time to digest food can depend on various factors, including what you ate, your age, gender and if you’re pregnant. Women tend to digest food slower than men, and digestion naturally slows you age.  

If you are experiencing digestive issues, one simple thing you can try is to take digestive enzymes. Many good brands are available for purchase in health food stores, and they are particularly important to help you digest fats. Another thing that can be beneficial is to drink water with lemon or a small amount of apple cider vinegar 15-30 minutes before your meals, and do not drink liquids with your meals. Drinking liquids when you are eating can dilute your body's natural enzymes and stomach acid that are needed to break down your food so it is best to always try to avoid drinking liquids during a meal. If you are still having problems there are certain spices and foods such as fermented food and probiotics that can help. We are having a class March 22, 2024 at 1 pm where we will be discussing and teaching you how to make fermented foods easily in your own home! Call 850-542-1970 to save your spot.

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Pam Keen

Pam Keen is a retired Navy Nurse and is owner of Regeneration Station in Pensacola

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