The digestive system is a tube associated with organs and glands that exert a specific action known as the digestion process. It comprises several elements whose function is to transform foods considered complex into simpler substances. The features that make it up are the mouth, salivary glands, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and the rectum, and the action of the pancreas and liver during this process. The bolus will be transported to the stomach to absorb nutrients and expel unnecessary food during digestion. There is an average time for the vast majority of people during this process, but how long does it take to digest? This FastlyHealarticle will explain it to you in detail.
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What is digestion
It is the process of transforming ingested food into simpler substances so that the body can absorb them and provide the energy it needs to live.
Unlike what most can create, the digestion process begins in the mouth. In this part of the body, the teeth are responsible for grinding food and mixing it with saliva, which softens the food and soaks it in enzymes that facilitate digestion in the stomach. Then, with the action of the tongue and throat muscles, the crushed mass of food, called a food bolus, is transported to the esophagus and from there to the stomach to continue the next phase.
In the stomach, the food bolus is mixed with gastric acids, which have the function of dissolving proteins and different components of food into simpler molecules to be absorbed later. This new mass of reconstituted food is known as chyme, and it is transferred to the small intestine, where it mixes with substances secreted by the liver and pancreas to continue digestion and, during its passage through the small intestine, the different elements they are absorbed to be taken to the blood and from this to the organs.
Finally, the chyme is passed to the large intestine, the organ responsible for absorbing the most significant amount of water and forming the feces excreted at the end of the process.
How long does it take to digest
Digestion is a process whose duration can vary depending on various factors, particularly the type of food that has been eaten, but also on other factors, such as the person’s gender. On average, digestion lasts between four and six hours from start to finish.
Under normal conditions, digestion is a sequential process that does not progress until the current stage is complete. For example, for the chyme to pass into the small intestine, it must reach a state and minimum consistency, for which it may take more or less time depending on factors such as the type of food ingested or the acidity the gastric juices.
In general, liquids and foods whose components are mainly liquid tend to be processed faster than other more complex foods, such as proteins or fats. From the beginning of the process to gastric emptying, the passage of chyme from the stomach to the intestine, it can take about two hours when we ingest liquids and carbohydrates, while when we eat fatty foods, it can last up to four hours. Proteins can take between two and four hours, depending on the complexity of the protein.
What is the importance of knowing the time it takes to digest
Knowing how long it takes to digest is essential because you can take advantage of this data and use it. With this information, stomach ailments or discomfort are prevented, and you can also feel light before doing any activity such as running or others after consuming food.
If you want to feel light, avoid foods in which fat predominates because their digestion process is slower, unlike other cases where it is not advisable to lack fluids or carbon-based foods, at least in sports activities.
It is also essential to consider that if you eat only liquid, at least at breakfast, your stomach will empty quickly. Therefore you will feel starving during the day, leaving the body lacking energy, which is supplied by good nutrition achieved with a varied meal. To learn how to speed up digestion, in the following FastlyHealarticle, you can read the foods and infusions to improve digestion.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.