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How to Keep the Digestive System Healthy Part 2

How to keep the digestive system healthy part 1 established the reasons why it’s best to allow five hours to elapse in between meals, but how can this practically be done? Can we go to McDonald’s, eat an apple pie, and expect our bodies to be satisfied for five hours? What gives our bodies that feeling of fullness after a meal called satiety? Understanding Nutrition 9th edition page 244 states that “the extent to which foods produce satiation and sustain satiety depends in part on the nutrient composition of a meal.” What is in nutritious foods that give the body satiety?

“Foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fibers also effectively extend the duration of satiety by filling the stomach and delaying the absorption of nutrients.” Understanding Nutrition 9th ed., 244. What specifically is delayed being absorbed? Foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, including fiber, “and a little fat…slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrate so that glucose enters the blood gradually, providing a steady, ongoing supply.” Understanding Nutrition, 10th ed., 108”

The slow, steady release of sugar from complex carbohydrates doesn’t trigger a dramatic insulin response from the pancreas, so energy levels stay higher and hunger is satisfied for hours after eating complex carbohydrate foods. It takes a longer time for the body to break down the bonds of complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars like chips, refined breads, and cookies. Therefore, we will feel fuller longer.

Foods We Should Eat To Keep The Digestive System Healthy

What should we eat to have this satiety? According to the USDA, “Complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole fruits, rice, pasta, potatoes, grains (brown rice, oats, wheat, barley, corn), and legumes (chick peas, black-eyed peas, lentils, as well as beans such as lima, kidney, pinto, soy, and black beans).” Our diet should be composed of a variety of unrefined foods each meal to have a greater feeling of fullness after we eat. We should “choose a diet that provides less than or equal to 30% kaclaories from fat, 15-20% kcalries from protein, and 55-60% kclaries from carbohydrate[s].” Understanding Nutrition 9th ed., 35.

How do we get these nutrients? “The amounts of foods needed vary with individuals, but it is important that a sufficient number of kinds of food be eaten daily to secure the variety which is necessary to obtain a balance of all the elements.” Abundant Health, 21. If we follow these steps, we will be able to curb our hunger, not eat in between meals, and help keep the digestive system healthy.

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