Tired of bloating after meals, of having lunch or dinner on your stomach for hours on end? To put an end to digestive discomfort, our dietician-nutritionist gives you her advice: easy-to-digest foods to put on the menu, those that are bad for digestion, and the cooking methods to choose. You'll know everything you need to digest quickly and well!

What foods help you digest quickly?

How long does digestion take?

A (good) digestion is essential for the body to properly assimilate the absorbed nutrients. It takes time, and more than we think!

"To have a complete digestion, it takes between 24 to 48 hours", announces Aurore Lavergnat, dietician-nutritionist.

This digestion time is not fixed. It varies according to the type of meal ingested. "The more the meal is rich in fibers, the more there is a ballast effect which increases the intestinal peristalsis and makes digestion faster, explains the dietician. Conversely, the more meaty the food, based on cooked fats, the slower the digestion.

It takes 6 to 8 hours for food to pass from the stomach to the small intestine and then to the large intestine.

What does the stomach digest?

"The stomach digests mainly proteins, explains Aurore Lavergnat. That's why its pH is acidic (pH2). The objective of this organ is to pre-cut proteins to make them more easily digestible. This takes about 2 to 3 hours.

What does the small intestine digest?

"It is, mainly, in charge of pre-cutting lipids into fatty acids, explains the dietician. It also continues the work of the stomach on proteins, transforming them into amino acids. It also deals with carbohydrates by changing them into glucose, etc. This work is intended to ensure that part of the nutrients passes into the bloodstream, the other into the colon. These transformations require another 6 to 8 hours of work."

Digestion in the colon

This stage is long: "it requires about 6 to 8 hours, then there is still a latency in the terminal phase of the descending colon, sigmoid, the last segment of the colon with the rectum, "explains the dietician.

How long does it take to digest food?

In addition to the overall digestion process, it is important to know that not all foods are digested at the same speed.

    Indeed, liquids pass very quickly through the body, there is no need for pre-digestion work, so they are digested very quickly, says Aurore Lavergnat.

And for other foods? Here are some digestion times.

  •     15 min: fruit juices, vegetable juices...
  •     30 min: cucumbers, celery, peppers, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, fruit salad...
  •     45 min : apple, pear, peach, banana, tomato...
  •     1 hour : carrots, beets...
  •     1 h 30 min : cereals, legumes, artichoke, squash, potato...
  •     2 hours : dried fruits, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds...
  •     4 hours: meat, poultry, fish, dairy products...

 Foods that are easy to digest

To digest well, you need to eat foods rich in fiber," says the dietician. However, many of them cause bloating, but good bloating! So, what to put on your plate?

Cooked vegetables

"They are easily digested, especially carrots, zucchini, eggplant, beets... Their soluble, gelatinous fibers are easier to digest. "Cooked yes, but not in puree, warns Aurore Lavergnat. To the latter, we prefer crushed vegetables with a fork to avoid raising the Glycemic Index too much." And if you want to eat raw vegetables? "You can remove the skin, the seeds and think about grating them, advises the dietician. The fact of grating them carries out as a prework of digestion".

Cooked fruits

Just like cooked vegetables, they digest well because their fibers are softened by cooking and are therefore more digestible.

    The small drawback is that they lose some of their vitamins, warns the dietician.

Lacto-fermented foods

Vegetables, yogurt, sourdough bread, miso paste, kefir, kombucha... There are many fermented foods. "Sources of probiotics and prebiotics, they promote good digestion, says Aurore Lavergnat. The only drawback is sauerkraut.

And of course, to promote a good transit, we must remember to drink regularly: at least 8 glasses of water per day.

Foods that are bad for digestion

If some foods are easy to digest, others are less so. "This is the case of cooked fats, fried foods, meat ..., lists the dietician. Without forgetting, of course, alcohol which slows down gastric emptying, and therefore digestion.

What to eat during the day to digest well?

Depending on the time of day, certain foods are to be preferred, others to be avoided, if you want to digest well. It is, in fact, a matter of applying the principle of chronobiology.

Foods to choose and to avoid at breakfast

"We prefer animal fat, which is good for certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and cortisol," explains Aurore Lavergnat. At breakfast, we therefore opt for butter, cheese, dairy products, eggs or ham, alternating of course, so as not to have a repetitive meal!

Easy-to-digest foods at lunch

"This is the meal of the day when you can afford anything! says the dietician. Provided, of course, that you keep to a varied and balanced diet, giving pride of place to vegetables and fruit, without forgetting to add animal proteins and starchy foods.

Foods that are easy to digest in the evening and those to avoid

"At dinner, it is important to avoid glycemic peaks, warns the dietician, because they increase digestion time. So what should be on the menu? "We prefer soup sprinkled with seeds for example to have a little chewing, broth with pieces of vegetables, papillotes of vegetables drizzled with olive oil ..., gives as examples Aurore Lavergnat.

And, conversely, we avoid foods rich in carbohydrates and high glycemic index.  "We can mention, for example, fried potatoes, pasta with cream, carbonara or Bolognese, gratins, vegetable pies and quiches, croque-monsieur ... ", lists the dietician.

The best cooking methods for good digestion

Not all foods are created equal! If you want to digest quickly and well, here are the cooking methods to choose from, from the best to the worst!

  •     Cooking with gentle steam
  •     Papillote and poaching (cooking in water)
  •     In the oven. Good to know: "it tends to dehydrate food and therefore increase the Glycemic Index", warns the dietician.
  •     Pan-frying or wok-frying: "for the latter, the food remains crunchy and digestion can be more difficult", warns Auorore Lavergnat.
  •     Frying.

And now, all you have to do is apply these tips to digest well!