Before we tackle some of the myths involving the digestive system, let us first take a quick look at some really cool facts about this very long and complex collection of organs and glands that starts with the mouth and ends down there:
- An adult’s stomach can hold up to 1.5 liters of food which stays there for 2 to 3 hours.
- It takes about 7 seconds for food to reach your stomach after swallowing it.
- The muscles of your esophagus contract and relax to take food to the stomach — even if you’re upside down!
- Hydrochloric acid the stomach produces can effortlessly dissolve metal but not plastic.
- It is possible for you to produce as many as 3 liters of saliva a day.
- On an average, there are 400 species of bacteria residing in your colon.
- Your small intestine is just an inch in diameter, but the large intestine can go up to 4 inches in diameter.
- An adult’s entire digestive tract can reach more than 29 feet in length.
Now that you know your digestive system a lot better, it’s time to sink our teeth into a few myths involving it. Being able to separate the facts from fiction arms you with the right knowledge that you may use for the attainment of optimum health, especially in terms of the food you eat. Read on!
Myth #1: It’s Easier for the Stomach to Digest Cooked Food
While it’s true that the stomach may have easier access to the nutrients in cooked food, it is still capable of extracting vitamins, minerals and the rest in raw food, albeit with a little extra effort. By the way, overcooking your food is not a good idea because many nutrients are actually destroyed by high temperatures.
Myth #2: Stress Leaves You with Stomach Ulcer
If you think that avoiding stress can save you from suffering from painful stomach ulcer, think again. The root cause of the condition is a type of bacterium called H. pylori. Fret not if you have this microbe in your digestive system because it is estimated that 50% of all the people on the planet have it too.
Myth #3: Undergoing Detoxification Helps Purify Your Gut
Your large intestines are fully equipped to eliminate impurities. There is really no need for you to undergo any of those detoxification methods just to flush out waste products and toxins, say the experts. To facilitate the purification of the gut, it’s a good idea to opt for a fiber-rich diet and drink plenty of fluids daily.
Myth #4: Eating Before Bedtime Can Make You Gain Excess Pounds
It’s more important to mind your overall caloric consumption throughout the day than focus on the time you have your meals if you are trying to lose weight. While it is a good idea to stop eating a couple of hours before hitting the sack especially if you have acid reflux, snacking at night won’t necessarily make you fat.
Myth #5: You Should Move Your Bowels at Least Once a Day
One person is different from the other when it comes to regularity of bowel movement. It’s true that going to the bathroom once a day is good. However, this does not mean that your digestive system is in a better state than someone who moves his or her bowels only every 3 to 4 days, something which is quite normal and healthy.
Myth #6: The More Fiber You Consume, the Better
Including more fiber in your everyday diet won’t necessarily equate to a healthier gut. According to the experts, it’s a good idea to have 25 grams of fiber a day. Going more than that is simply too much. In fact, there are certain conditions that require you to monitor closely your fiber intake, such as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.