All you need to know about Digestion


Digestion is the basic and most important process of the body. The process of digestion is started in the mouth and ends in the last part of the intestine. The digestive system consists of the digestive tract and pancreas, liver and gallbladder. The GI tract starts in the mouth and ends in the intestine. The juices involved in the digestion are saliva, pancreatic juice, gastric juice, intestinal juice and bile. Digestion is very important as it is the basic process for nutrient breakdown which is needed for energy, growth and repair of cells. In this article, we will discuss the basic aspects of digestion with a special focus on diet.


Digestion is the process of breakdown of food into small molecules which can be absorbed into the bloodstream providing essential nutrients for the working of the body and eliminating unwanted and undigested material. The process starts in the mouth and ends in the large intestines. Most of the absorption is done in small intestines and waste product passes to large intestines and then gets eliminated from the anus. It takes 24-72 hours for the food to go through this journey. The overall health of an individual also plays a role in food digestion. The food we swallow reaches the stomach within 8-10 seconds. The liquid reaches within one second. Carbohydrates are digested more quickly than fats. It is important to take a good combination of eatables.

Digestion of different food items

Digestion of different food items

1. Water

Drinking water is an essential component of our health because it acts as a transportation system. It circulates the nutrients throughout the body and removes the waste products. The water we all know is made up of oxygen and hydrogen. It cannot be broken down further by the body. It is in fact small enough to diffuse through the lipid layer of the intestinal tract into the bloodstream and is used by the various organs of the body. When the stomach is empty, it leaves immediately and goes into the intestines.

2. Milk

Milk contains all the six nutrients viz. Proteins, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. Milk passes from the stomach to the small intestines and then to the large intestines. Higher fat milk stays for a longer duration. Low-fat milk contains less time about 3-4 hours to digest than high-fat milk which takes 5-6 hours. Lipase is the enzyme responsible for the assimilation and digestion of fat.

3. Vegetables

Vegetables are the foundation of healthy life. They are an important source of many nutrients including minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre. Vegetables help to reduce the risk of various modern lifestyle disorders. There are two types of dietary fibres in plant food, soluble and insoluble. The vegetables mostly contain an insoluble form of fibre named cellulose. This fiber is difficult to break down by the digestive system if veggies are taken raw and thus cause stomach pain. So they have to be cooked to make digestion easier. This fiber is solid fiber and helps create the bulk of stool. It neither dissolves in water nor absorbs the water. Vegetables containing soluble fiber can be digested easily. Vegetables containing soluble fiber can be digested easily. Soluble fiber slows down the time for food to pass through the stomach into the small intestines which have the benefit of keeping one feeling full for long. It helps to control blood sugar and lipid profile. Pectin and gum are the soluble fibers of plants. They form a gel-like substance when dissolved in water. Soluble fibers retain water and make stool softer and bulkier. They work in both conditions i.e. diarrhea and constipation. The insoluble fiber-rich veggies are spinach, lettuce, turnip, cauliflower, asparagus, and potatoes.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains are loaded with fibers, starch, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains are one the most important parts of our diet. Whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, millet, brown rice, and oats retain all parts of the grain, unlike refined grains which are stripped of the bran and germ. So the body has to work harder to digest the parts of the whole grain i.e. bran, germ, and endosperm, and make all the essential nutrients available to the body. The body works to break whole grains which boosts the metabolism. Due to high dietary fiber content, whole grain consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and obesity.

5. Nuts

Nuts provide a balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. They are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, which is a healthy fat. They contain antioxidants known as polyphenols which protect cells from oxidative stress. They are high in fiber and help feel full. Intestinal health is promoted when the fiber is fermented and turns the fiber into fatty acids. Phytic acid is not easy to digest and inhibits the absorption of minerals like Zinc, calcium, and iron. That's why nuts should be used after soaking. Nuts are loaded with antioxidants and also help to drain out the free radicals in the body. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pistachios are some common examples of Nuts.

6. Starch

Starch is a type of complex carbohydrate and is a form of a digestible carb. The composition of starch is composed of sugar molecules. These sugar molecules are called monosaccharides. These monosaccharides are linked together to form starch. The forms of starch which are absorbable are glucose, galactose, and fructose. Starch, which is a composition of sugar, is an excellent source of energy. They contain fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin B complexes along with starch. Wheat, rice, potatoes, corn, millet and oats are rich sources of starch. Nowadays people are consuming highly refined starches like pasta and noodles having no nutritional value and are linked to a higher risk of diabetes, weight gain and heart diseases.

7. Fruits

Fruits are highly nutritious. Fruits are loaded with ample soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, fruits are rich in anti-oxidants. Fruits are easily absorbable. Sucrose, fructose, and glucose are the basic forms of carbs present in fruits. Hence fruits are absorbed more easily and quickly than proteins and fats. The body needs the least effort to digest the fruits and fruits are quick sources of energy. The fiber content in fruit is the only thing that affects fruit digestion. The higher the fiber, the slower the digestion. People feel satisfied after eating fruits. The skin of the fruit is edible and is a rich source of antioxidants. Fruits should be added with veggies, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. A balance and a limited diet will lead to a healthy and long life.


The above information is loaded with different kinds of food items. Food choices are very important for healthy life but with good food choices, one should follow the habits like eating the easiest to digest food first in each meal, avoid ice cold drinks to maintain the digestive fire, stop eating before you are full, create a nice and calm atmosphere while eating, take a brisk walk after eating. A person should follow the Dincharya (Daily regime) and Ritucharya (Seasonal regime) to maintain good health and live a long life.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD - Ayurveda) is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd. He is Author of the Book "Ayurveda – God’s Manual For Healing". He is an Ayurveda Expert Serving People worldwide through all the Possible Mediums, Operating from Main Branch in Mohali, India. With his Vast Experience in Herbs and their Applied Uses, he is successfully treating Numerous Patients suffering from Various Ailments with the help of Purest Herbal Supplements, Diet, and Lifestyle, according to the Principles of Ayurveda. For More Details, visit