Myths and Facts about your digestive system
Have you ever thought, what goes on down below?
In a world of competing advice, it’s hard to know what is really healthy and what is not, for your digestive system.
Every day, it seems that there is a newly discovered diet or food that will unlock the secret to digestive health.
One day, its avoiding gluten, next it is to eat as much as whole grains as you want. Then you learn that, it doesn’t matter, as long as you are exercising and burning the calories.
There is a strong link between our gut and our emotions. When it comes to what we think we know about our digestive system, some beliefs are tough to shake!!
Debunking digestive myths means you will get a better understanding in detecting any kind of tummy troubles when it occurs.
So, let’s review the most common of the nutrition based digestive concerns that I hear at my Digestive care practice.
The below mentioned are a bellyful of facts: Digestive Myths Debunked
1. Myth- Cooked food is easier to digest
Fact- Digestion is simple breaking down macro-molecules into micro molecules and using the nutritional content (vitamins, minerals, protein content) of the food.
Whether the food is raw or cooked, our digestive system is a master at this.
In some foods, cooking grants easier access to nutrients, but some foods like salads are effective when eaten raw, or in some foods, overcooking might destroy some essential nutrients too.
2. Myth- Drink plenty of water with meals
Fact- There is no need to drag your water bottle to dinner or lunch for better digestion.
As long as you stay hydrated throughout the day, no need to drink enough water with meals.
However, for people who are looking forward to weight loss, can drink a glass of water before meals to cut down on the food intake.
So, pick the right strategy and ignore this digestive myth
3. Myth- Always go to Bed on an empty stomach to lose weight
Fact- If you are among those who want to lose weight, always remember- It’s the number of calories eaten throughout the day which matters and not when you eat them!
However, people with digestive issues or acid reflux can eat dinners 2-3 hours before going to bed.
But, for others, sleeping on an empty stomach might increase acidity issues.
4. Myth: Eating spicy food causes Stomach ulcers.
Fact- Green chilli and red chilli sauce lovers, Rejoice!
Most of the sores in your stomach lining happen because of bacterial infection called as Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) or even side effects of certain medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen.
However, spicy foods may make ulcers worse for some, but they don’t cause ulcers.
5. Myth- Drinking Chilled milk relieves acidity or Stomach ulcers
Fact- It’s a trend to drink milk when you get that tummy burn or ulcers.
This Glass of milk is effective in treating acidity, if not very chilled.
Chilled or cold milk can worsen the symptoms further. Cold milk initially acts as a buffer, but later increases gastric acidity symptoms
6. Myth- Only Alcoholics get Liver Cirrhosis.
Fact- Its absolutely true that too much consumption of alcohol may cause Cirrhosis, but there are other causes too- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Although drinking too much alcohol causes liver damage, it doesn’t always cause cirrhosis.
7. Myth- Beans are very Gassy!
Fact- More than beans, it is the dairy foods that cause gases than any other food.
As we age, our bodies lose the ability to digest and absorb lactose (milk sugar).
8. Myth- You cannot consume dairy products If you are lactose intolerant
Fact- Lactose intolerance levels vary from person to person.
Some might tolerate little lactose; some might not tolerate it at all. Some people can enjoy Curd, ice-cream, soya milk, buttermilk, Tofu.
It is usually a matter of trial and error to find out which dairy foods- and how much-are “safe” for you.
9. Myth- In Diarrhea, you should avoid Fibre
Fact- Fibre can be soluble (found in carrots, beans, oats) and insoluble (found in green leafy vegetables, bran, wheat).
Soluble fibre however binds to the stools and helps absorb fluid in the intestine to firm them up, thus relieving diarrhoea.
10. If your stomach gurgles, it always means you are hungry
Fact- A rumbling stomach can sometimes signify hunger, but not always.
It might also indicate stomach muscles contracting and the movement of last remnants of your last meal or even gas passing through your gut
11. Myth- You must “detox” to clear your digestive system
Fact- Regardless of what the glitzy celebrity information you saw last night on the television, Facebook or Insta claims, that colon or kidney detoxes you hear so much about can be harmful to your body- if not outright dangerous.
Our digestive system, colon and kidney are designed to “cleanse” itself automatically or internally without adding on those expensive detox teas or smoothies
The Take a way-
Now a days, many of the conditions associated with poor digestive health (bloating, constipation or diarrhoea) are still considered taboo conversation topics at office or college.
Thus, in spite of being incredibly common, we do not talk about them openly. This has produced some alternative “Digestive facts and Myths “over years, causing people to suffer in silence unnecessarily.
Digestive system can actually uncover some fun and interesting facts that you might not have known.
Reading this article, I am pretty sure, you must have got an idea of how to separate digestive health facts from fiction!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.