How long Will This Take?
Getting food from our mouths to our stomach, digesting it and then emptying our colon is something we humans spend a lot of time doing. When we suffer from constipation that whole process can seem like an eternity. Have you ever wondered how long the whole process takes?
Since we eat different foods at different times and come in all shapes and sizes, the average transit times (like commuting to and from work!) are only estimates scientists have reached, when studying digestion.
The estimates are that it takes about 21/2 to 3 hours for the stomach to be at least 50% emptied, with total emptying times about 4-5 hours. Then there is the small intestine transit time of another 2-3 hours, with colon transit times between 30 and 40 minutes.
It would be impossible to get exact transit times because food doesnâ??t move through the digestive process all together. Foods donâ??t always get processed in the same order as they came in- some of the food from the same meal will be in the colon, while another portion remains in the stomach.
A meal is a mixture of several types of chemicals and materials. Itâ??s a miracle the body knows what to do with everything, but it does. Sometimes the choices we make will effect the transit time unpleasantly, and that can mean problems with constipation. One of the best foods to get the journey back on track is fruit. Enjoying at least two fruits a day can keep the transit police happy. (Is that the sound of happy peopleâ??s toiletâ??s flushing?)
Top Ten Fruits
Fruits are made by nature- a perfect food. They are easy to digest and absorb. Fruits are your colonâ??s friends. If you ever suffer from constipation, youâ??ll want to reach for fresh fruit. Hereâ??s a look at the top ten fruits that help improve constipation.
Fruits offer many health benefits, including providing vitamins and nutrients, but this list have added benefits for sluggish bowels. Can you guess what these fruits pack a punch with? Did you answer fiber? Thought so!
These fruits are packed full of fiber. Letâ??s take dried figs. 5 figs will supply 237 calories, with 8.5 grams of fiber for every 100 of those calories. One cup of raspberries, at 60 calories will help get things moving with 8 grams of fiber.
Most of us have already been told how fiber is so good for us. Itâ??s great to know that you donâ??t have to down bowl after bowl of bran to get rid of constipation. In fact, if you arenâ??t used to a lot of fiber in the diet, it can make you feel bloated, gassy and more uncomfortable than being constipated did in the first place.
More Fruits to the Rescue
Donâ??t worry if the fiber-rich fruits on the top ten lists donâ??t appeal to you. Most fruits are naturals at gently relieving constipation. Hereâ??s a list of other fruits you might want to add to your diet:
The combination of fiber (which is usually provided by the skin, so donâ??t peel that apple!) and sugars that are harder for the body to digest, makes fruits a good bet for clearing bouts of constipation. Since the body canâ??t break down the sugar, it pushes it out. You might say that fruit are natureâ??s laxative. They also act as toners to the stomach and intestines.
Other Transit tips
Need some other suggestions to get traffic flowing again? First of all, if youâ??ve suffered from constipation for a while and it doesnâ??t seem to be getting better, it may be something more than just a nuisance. Itâ??s wise to have it checked out by your physician. Here are some other tips for relieving constipation:
- Itâ??s not only what you eat; itâ??s how you are eating. Be sure that you are not rushing to eat meals and eating at odd times. Make sure you chew your food. Digestion starts in the mouth. Saliva has enzymes that work chemically on your food before you even swallow. Each mouthful should be chewed at least 15 times.
- Stay away from foods that contain white flour and sugar.
- Drink lots of water- just not with your meals, as it dilutes gastric juices needed for digestion. A cup of hot water with some lemon can help with constipation.
Youâ??ll find that making a conscious effort to add fruits to your diet will make a lasting difference in helping you avoid constipation.
The Colon Cleansing & Constipation Resource Center