As we age, many admit they are not pooping regularly – you should be pooping! Overnight, our bodies are digesting and detoxing so that in the morning we are ready to use the bathroom within an hour of waking. If you are not using the bathroom at least daily, toxins are being reabsorbed into your body. Let’s look at what factors contribute to transit time, what you can do, what micronutrients take longer to digest, and some of the risks of constipation.
TRANSIT TIME. 16-40 hours after eating is the typical time is takes for food to move through your system, and the shorter time is better.
Transit time is affected by:
- The composition of your meal. Fat takes the longest to digest. Most people can only digest around 10g of fat per hour. If your meal is composed of a large amount of fat, it will take longer to digest and eliminate it.
- Your gender. Men have been shown to have a shorter transit time than women. Sorry, ladies!
- Psychological stress. When you’re stressed, the body goes into fight or flight mode, and you will digest your food more quickly and use the bathroom more frequently.
- Endocrine status. Hyperthyroid and hypothyroid patients experience difficulties in motility,
- Medications. Side effects of medications can alter transit time.
Those not regularly eliminating are at an increased risk of colon cancer, and reabsorption of toxins into their body, making them ill. Take a look at the Bristol Stool Chart to get a visual of what healthy elimination looks like.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR TRANSIT TIME
Many things can help improve transit time including the following:
- hot beverages stimulate elimination
- Adequate fiber in the diet, try psyllium husk
- Not overeating
- Eliminating processed foods
- Chewing your food. The simple act of chewing your food helps assist with digestion. Just thinking about food helps to trigger saliva. Try chewing at least 30 times per bite of food to break it down mechanically. Digestion begins in the mouth.
- Consider supplementing with magnesium
- Check for food sensitivities
What have you tried for constipation – what has worked and what has not?