Health Tips

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How to Make Food Digest Faster

With a few simple tips and tricks, learn how to digest food better and faster so you can create a healthy digestive system.

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Digestion is a normal physiological process our bodies participate in daily following the intake of food. The enzymatic and mechanical actions facilitate food breakdown, allowing the body to use food as energy and obtain valuable nutrients.

Though there are various factors and conditions that may affect food breakdown, there are advices to speed up and make digestion more effective!

How to Digest Food Faster

1. Chew Your Food

Going back to basics, thoroughly chewing your foods helps officiate the digestive process. Digestion starts in the mouth, where food becomes broken down and in contact with saliva. So instead of swallowing big pieces of food, take the time to adequately chew and break down the food.

2. Eat Small, Frequent Meals

In the place of large portions and servings most Americans have become accustomed to, eat smaller, more frequent meals. Consuming large plates can overwhelm the digestive tract following a meal.

In addition to more efficient digestion, small meals or snacks spaced between three to four hours can help keep hunger levels in check.

3. Skip Out On Heavy, High-Fat Meals

Fat, especially from fried foods, takes more time for the body to digest. Consuming greasy meals is a common reason why individuals may feel groggy or sleepy following its consumption - energy is mostly directed to the digestive tract rather than other parts of the body.

4. Eat More Fiber

Dietary fiber is a plant component that is unable to be digested by the body. Insoluble fiber, specifically, contributes to stool bulk and helps to promote efficient digestion and bowel regularity.

Simple ways to get more fiber in your diet include starting the day with a high-fiber breakfast, choosing whole grains, consuming fiber-rich snacks, and increasing the consumption of plant-based proteins such as legumes. 

5. Ensure Adequate Hydration

Inadequate water intake can increase the risk of constipation, as water helps soften stools. Adequate hydration is imperative for digestion, as water also helps nutrients break down and become more efficiently used within the body.

Easy hacks to drink more water include using larger cups, taking advantage of flavor enhancers, making it more convenient, and ordering water at restaurants.

6. Consume Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that have shown to be highly beneficial in gut health and regularity. Profound probiotic sources include yogurt and kefir.

If unsure if probiotics are featured in the product look for common bacteria such as "bifidobacterium infantis" and "lactobacillus acidophilus" on the label.

7. Get Active

Dismissing a sedentary lifestyle supports health in all aspects of health and getting active further promotes digestion.

Partaking in exercise helps stimulate bowel contractions and "gets things moving." Just be sure to let food settle following a meal!

8. Sleep

The time resting allows for a daily reset button, also letting the body physiologically rest and digest.

It is important, however, to not immediately lie down following a meal. General guidelines suggest waiting two to three hours to ensure adequate digestion.

9. Break Bad Habits

Efficient digestion can also be affected by smoking and excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. Though caffeine, coffee especially, has shown to stimulate movement in the colon, too much can alter proper digestive processes and upset the stomach.

Caffeine consumption is recommended to 400 milligrams per day while alcohol is limited to one serving for women and up to two servings for men per day.

A Word About Digestion and Weight Loss

If you're after faster digestion in order to speed up weight loss results, you might want to reconsider. While eating certain foods can lead to an increase in your metabolism, ultimately what you're eating and how you're approaching your diet is what typically makes the greatest impact on your potential for success. The best weight loss program for long term success is one that fuels your body with the right balance of macronutrients to restore healthy metabolic function.

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on September 21, 2016. Updated on April 22, 2019.

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