After you eat do you sometimes feel bloated, weighed down, have indigestion, low energy or feel tired? It might sound strange but the problem might be as simple as the order in which you eat your food. Sounds crazy right? Well let’s look at how to eat food in an orderly fashion…
Something important we are not taught is that different foods digest at different rates and this affects the digestive system.
Eat your fruit salad first! About fruits and veggies
Many people will eat their meal and follow it up with some fruit (as dessert). Bad choice! Fruit digests the fastest in your system, around 20 – 30 minutes. Berries and liquids digest at a faster rate while fruits such as apples and pears a little slower.
When we eat other foods before fruit, it can’t digest properly as foods that digest slower are still in the digestive system. As it sits waiting its turn, it starts to ferment causing bloating and gas. Fruit is best to be eaten on an empty stomach before any other food. This will allow your body to absorb and assimilate the nutrients quickly (and without discomfort) and give you a burst of energy.
There is a lot of fibre in vegetables, which your body has a hard time breaking down so chew them well. At the same time they include important enzymes which aid in the digestion process. The majority of vegetables are digested in 30 – 40 minutes. To receive the full benefit for digestion it is typically best to eat vegetables raw.
Soak pulses and grains 24 hours
All grains, lentils and beans should be soaked before cooking. The recommended time for soaking is at least 24 hours. This aids in releasing enzymes that help digestion and that also helps avoid flatulence. It also neutralises the toxins that naturally occur in them. This group can take up to 90 – 120 minutes to digest, faster when cooked, slower when eaten raw.
Dairy, meat and eggs
Dairy is a big part of our culture’s diet and most takes a lot longer to digest than the previously mentioned foods. Some dairy products only take 90 – 120 minutes to digest while others take hours. Cheese (we love our cheese – cheese burgers, cheese and crackers, grilled cheese etc) can take up to 4 – 5 hours to digest.
Digestion rates vary for fish 30– 60 minutes, to beef, lamb and pork 4–5 hours with chicken and turkey digesting faster. Eggs only take 30 minutes to digest.
Fats and a workout tip
Fats have the longest digestive rate. For example nuts take up to 2.5 – 3 hours. Fats take longer to digest because your body uses it for energy. If you are working out consider eating a small meal 2 hours beforehand consisting of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Doing this will give you enough energy and help minimise the possibility of digestive issues when exercising.