Food transit time is a key factor in digestive health. The time it takes for ingested food to travel through the human gut (transit time) affects the amount of harmful products produced along the way. This means that transit time is a key factor in a healthy digestive system. This is the finding of a study from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, which has been published in the renowned journal Nature Microbiology.
Food has to travel through eight metres of intestine from the time it enters the mouth of an adult person until it comes out the other end. Postdoc Henrik Munch has studied how food's transit time through the colon affects gut bacteria's role in the activity and health of the digestive system by measuring the products of bacterial activity, which end up in urine.
Intestinal bacteria prefer to digest dietary carbohydrates, but when these are depleted, the bacteria starts to break down other nutrients such as proteins. Researchers have studied correlations between some of the bacterial protein wastes that are produced in the colon and the development of various diseases including colorectal cancer, chronic renal disease and autism.
"In short, our study shows that the longer food takes to pass through the colon, the more harmful bacterial degradation products are produced. Conversely, when the transit time is shorter, we find a higher amount of the substances that are produced when the colon renews its inner surface, which may be a sign of a healthier intestinal wall," Henrik's supervisor and professor at the National Food Institute, Tine Rask Licht, explains.
He further emphasizes that people's dietary habits can influence transit time. Constipation should be avoided at all costs, as it slows, or even blocks the elimination process, causing a severe build up of waste matter. After the food has nourished the body, it needs to be eliminated to degrade in the sewer line where it belongs, rather than to poison and putrefy inside the body.
Meat slows down the transit time and provides the gut bacteria with lots of protein to digest; best to eliminate it from the diet. Eat foods high in fibre at meal times, drink plenty of water and get good physical activity each day. All these points can greatly reduce transit time, offering a healthier digestive tract.
–ref. medicalnewstoday, June.28, 2016
Raw foods contain enzymes which the body needs. Food cooked at a temperature higher than 48°c kills the enzymes contained in the food, so to get the maximum benefit from the raw foods we eat, thorough chewing is essential. This will activate the digestive enzymes better. Once the food leaves the mouth, the flavour we enjoy is no longer experienced so to savor the flavour and get the best of each mouthful, chew each mouthful well. This will increase digestive enzymes, improving overall digestion.
One may wonder if a diet consisting of 100 percent raw food is totally adequate, without any cooked food. But we do find there is place for cooked food. In carrots and tomatoes the nutrients are more readily available by cooking. Other foods can be steamed, such as greens. “Besides killing bacteria and adding a range of tastes, textures and aroma to food, cooking offers certain nutritional advantages. Carotenoids, like Beta-caratene and lycopene are unleashed when heat breaks down cell walls” —Environmental Nutrition, May 2003, vol. 26 No.5, Eating in the Raw, p. 7
Certain foods, such as raw nuts, seeds, grains and legumes contain enzyme inhibitors. Cooking destroys these inhibitors, but also destroys the enzymes as well. It would be better to sprout these foods as sprouting will destroy the inhibitors but not the enzymes.
It has been documented through scientific studies that serious physical degeneration occurs in small animals when fed large amounts of raw foods containing enzyme inhibitors over an extended period of time. Dr. Howell took this research and applied it to determine such eating habits on the effect of humans. His conclusion was that it was more beneficial to eat cooked foods without enzymes, than to eat raw foods with inhibitors in tact. It is questionable that a diet consisting 100 percent raw will meet all nutritional needs of all age groups.
Children who need large amounts of protein have a difficult time with an all raw diet. Older people may also have difficulty with a totally raw diet due to possibly not having their own teeth, or very worn teeth. Without good teeth, proper chewing is often lacking affecting digestion. Health educator Ellen White wrote, “I would advise all to take something warm into the stomach every morning at least.”—Counsels on Diet and Food, p.106
Although raw foods are necessary and beneficial, a totally raw diet is not recommended. Ideally each meal should consist of 50-75 percent raw foods.
—God’s Plan Natural Foods Cookbook. p.130
Red Cabbage Coleslaw
6 c red cabbage, finely sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 t caraway seeds
2 t soy sauce
1 t garlic herb salt
Toss all ingredients in a bowl, except the alfalfa sprouts. Sprinkle alfalfa sprouts on top. Serve.