May 21st, 10:07 AM
Many individuals, at some point in their lives have endured digestive upset. This includes, but is not limited to constipation, diarrhea, bloating, intestinal gas, stomach cramping, distended abdomen, ulcers, vomiting, diverticulitis, heart burn and GERD. These symptoms and complications are generally reversible with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Complete digestion of food should take approximately 6-8 hours. Environmental and nutritional factors play a HUGE role in the time it takes to process food and drinks. As toxins build up in our digestive system the amount of nutrients as well as our health is adversely affected. We can recognize this in several ways; clearness of our skin, bowel habits, reflux, sluggishness, and fatigue, constipation, diarrhea and general stomach upset.
Doctors have been recommending probiotics for a healthy digestive system. Some yogurts claim to contain healthy probiotics, although when you add sugar to them the integrity of the probiotics are compromised. Some supplements contain only limited amounts and are costly or sit in the buyers cabinets for a long period of time without proper use.
A huge factor in digestion is fluid. Water is extremely important to aid in the elimination process, and I can not stress that enough. Drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water will help move things along. Not just increasing water once a day, but drinking everyday throughout the day. Diet and activity level also plays a huge factor especially foods that are packaged or contain additives and preservatives. These foods are damaging to our body. Drinking too much coffee can dehydrate an individual and slow your digestive system.
I hear so much talk about fiber... many people don't realize there are two different types of fiber. Insoluble, which is the part of a plant that can not be broken down by the stomach and pretty much comes out looking like it went in. Insoluble fiber provides bulk to stool and controls pH. It can help prevent colon cancer and other cancers, we find this type in vegetables, fruit skin, whole wheat products, seeds and nuts. The other type, soluble, helps to bind fatty acids and remove them from the body, reducing total cholesterol. It also helps regulate blood sugar because it prolongs stomach emptying. This type of fiber is best recognized for it's stickiness and found in oatmeal, the mushy inside of dried beans (when cooked) peas, and cooked carrots.
If you are getting the recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables as well as the recommended 6 servings of grains (3 being whole grains) you are likely getting enough fiber!! Just make sure your water intake is increased and you move your body... if you have trouble eliminating, and before you head to the pharmacy drink more water for a day then slowly increase your fiber to prevent stomach upset!