Four Digestive Myths Debunked.
Bubble gum takes years to digest. Smoking alleviates heartburn. Swimming after eating causes cramps. These are just a few myths that have been debunked over time. Don’t let these myths come between you and a healthy digestive system. Here are four other digestive myths you shouldn’t believe.
- Nuts Cause Diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is a condition characterized by an infection or inflammation in one or more small pockets in the intestine. If you or someone you know has diverticulitis, you might have been told to avoid corn, nuts and seeds. Don’t pass up that bag of popcorn at the movies just yet; this is actually a myth. Researchers find no connection between nut consumption and diverticulitis. In fact, those with diverticulitis should maintain a diet rich in fiber, which includes nutrient-rich nuts and seeds. A low-fiber diet is actually the more probable cause of diverticulitis.
- Ulcers are Caused by Stress and Spicy Foods.
“You’re going to give yourself an ulcer” is a warning many people have heard from a grandma or concerned parent. The truth is that you can’t really give yourself an ulcer. A more likely culprit is a bacterium found in the stomach called Helicobacter pylori, or pain medications like ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. Another myth is that spicy foods cause ulcers. But relax, sriracha lovers; while eating spicy foods might make ulcers worse for some people, it doesn’t actually cause them.
- Drink Plenty of Water with Meals.
You might have heard that drinking plenty of fluids with each meal will help with digestion. The truth is that drinking too much water during meals can interfere with necessary, natural levels of stomach acid and bile, slowing the digestive process. Drinking lots of liquids during a meal can also worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. Optimal digestion occurs when you stay hydrated throughout the day and drink water 30 minutes before and after each meal.
- Meat Stays in Your Stomach Longer than Vegetables.
A lot of people would agree that eating a steak for dinner feels a little heavier on the stomach than a chef salad or veggie plate. Eating foods high in fat does slow the digestive process, but it actually takes the same amount of time for our stomachs to digest meat and vegetables. All foods from a meal – both meat and vegetables – complete the digestion process and leave the body at about the same time, usually within three days.
Always ask your doctor if you have other digestion practices or facts you think could be myths. The best prescription is to debunk them right away for optimal digestive health.
Dr. James C. Strobel MD
Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana
Dr. Strobel joined GSI in July of 1997. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his medical degree from Indiana University in Indianapolis. Following this, Dr. Strobel completed his residency in Internal Medicine, and after three years of additional training, completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Strobel is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.
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