Digestion; The whole process of transporting orally ingested nutrients to the relevant organs, breaking down into smaller building blocks in these organs, then mixing them into the circulation, and removing waste materials from the body during all these events is called digestion. The digestive process for carbohydrates begins in the mouth and ends in the small intestine. The digestion of proteins and fats starts in the stomach and ends in the small intestine. A healthy digestion is very important for the daily use of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, at the cellular level.
Today, our gut is known as our second brain. At this point, the healthier and stronger the digestive system, the better your health status. Today, digestive system disorders are increasing day by day due to the change in our dietary habits and we give more weight to western-style diets. Our digestive system is also affected by increased air temperatures and travels in summer, and problems such as constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating can be seen more frequently. If you encounter these problems every time you eat, it is useful to evaluate your nutritional status, fluid intake, and physical activity status.
Drink enough water
One of the first things we should pay attention to is water intake. About 60% of our body is made up of water, and water is an essential component for us. The increase in water excretion through sweating in summer highlights the importance of water intake even more. Especially when we travel by plane, the low consumption of water can cause our body to be dehydrated. Therefore, fluid consumption should be increased, especially during flights. When we are mildly or severely dehydrated due to a lack of water intake, symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, bloating and even malabsorption can occur. Water helps break down nutrients to support digestion and softens stool. For this reason, 30-35 ml of water per kg is recommended for adult individuals per day.
Fiber intake should not be neglected
Fiber is also a very important component for the digestive system. Adult individuals should definitely get 14 g of fiber per 1000 kcal. Fiber intake is also very important for celiac patients. Especially since gluten-free diets are low in fiber, it is recommended that individuals with celiac should consume 5 portions of vegetables and fruits a day, and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans twice a week. Beta-glucan, especially found in gluten-free oats, and pectin found in vegetables-fruits and legumes are in the soluble fiber group. Studies have shown that soluble fiber has many health benefits. Since the digestion takes longer, the individual feels full for a long time, and also reduces blood lipids by binding soluble fiber bile acids and protects against cardiovascular diseases. With the soluble fiber found in vegetables and fruits, it increases the stool volume and ensures healthy bowel movements.
It is very important to chew your bites
Doing less chewing and swallowing large bites cause the food to be digested in the stomach longer. Consuming it fast will cause more bloating. For this reason, it is recommended not to hold the fork or spoon in your hand after each bite in order to consume your meals slowly, and if you cannot prevent fast consumption, it is recommended to eat with a dessert spoon instead of a tablespoon.
In order to consume meals more slowly, one should not watch television or be busy with any other work while eating, and also aim to chew bites 15-25 times as the number of chewing.
Movement Aids Digestion
Regular exercise facilitates digestion. Exercising speeds up digestion by accelerating blood flow in the intestines. Exercises that work the abdominal region also regulate digestion and gastrointestinal movements. The World Health Organization recommends doing regular exercise at least 3 days a week for 50 minutes or 5 days for 30 minutes.
Digestive System During Travel
With the arrival of the summer months, digestive system disorders that they may encounter during their travels can create great problems for those who will go on holiday. Factors such as being sedentary for a long time during travels, decreased fluid consumption, and switching to a new diet during vacation cause digestive system disorders. The most common conditions encountered during travel are constipation, diarrhea and bloating. In this period, you should pay attention to your fiber intake, even if you are traveling, in order to avoid problems such as constipation in your diet. Water consumption should be made in accordance with the recommended amounts for individuals and should not be considered below 30-35 ml per kg.
Diarrhea, on the other hand, is a condition caused by excessive consumption of fat or risky food consumption in your diet. During this period, when choosing your meals while traveling, you should definitely make sure of the freshness and go to the restaurants you trust by doing preliminary research. Especially if you have traveled to hot regions, you should stay away from perishable food groups such as milk and meat group sold in the open. Using cumin as a spice or drinking fennel, ginger or mint-lemon tea will help ease digestion.
Despite all this, supplementing the body with additional probiotics, especially during the travel period, can prevent problems that may occur during this period. Studies have shown the positive effects of the use of probiotic supplements, especially in cases of diarrhea-constipation. These problems can be easily overcome by using probiotics, which are available in easy-to-use forms that we can easily access today, especially during the travel period, and the holiday season can be spent with a much healthier and more resistant metabolism.
Smoothie recipe for a healthy digestive system
Let’s prepare a smoothie recipe that you can consume for a healthy digestive system and cool you in the summer.
Kefir in the recipe is a source of probiotics. It is also a source of calcium, B12, phosphorus and protein. Strawberries are a source of vitamin C and fiber. 1 cup of strawberries contains about 3.3 grams of fiber. For this reason, it is beneficial for our digestive system. Flaxseed, which has healthy fat content, also contains high fiber. (100 grams of flaxseed: Contains 27 grams of dietary fiber.)
200 ml glass of kefir
8 strawberries (you can also use a different frozen red fruit)
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
Let’s put all the ingredients in the blender.
Dietitian Dilara Tuygan
Alas, Celiac! What will happen now?
The only cure for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. Patients need to maintain strict gluten-free meals for life. People diagnosed with celiac disease as a result of clinical symptoms, serological tests, and small bowel histology should immediately start a gluten-free diet. He should stay away from the consumption of wheat, barley, rye and oat foods and beverages that should eliminate gluten from his life. Gluten-containing and iced tea such as white bread, whole wheat bread, bran bread and pasta, bulgur are not consumed in the gluten-free diet. It should be used with gluten-containing foods, which we call cross contamination, which do not contain gluten, but in this utility, attention should be paid to gluten contaminated contents.
Serological, hematological and biochemical tests (complete blood count, iron profiles, thyroid tests, calcium, magnesium, zinc, B12, folic acid and vitamin D) density and dietary compliance should be monitored. It is also important in follow-up in children.
Transglutaminase needs to be measured in a certain way to observe the effect of gluten-free treatment. If there are serological findings that do not improve at the end of a year, it should be considered that there is contamination in the diet. Serological tests are considered as a symptom of reaching normal levels, and it is known that the fastest serological tests in celiac disease reach their normal values in the 6th month and the slowest at the end of the 1st year.
A gluten-free diet should be followed very strictly. Very low amounts of gluten can cause clinical symptoms to persist. Celiac patients and their relatives should be well aware of the free, unfavorable foods that are included in the gluten-free diet and which should be controlled.
Dietician Armoni Yılmaz
Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up for Family Physicians in Celiac Disease, 2019
KULOĞLU, Z. (2014). Celiac disease. Turkish Journal of Pediatrics, 8 (2), 105-111.
Öztürk, Y. E., Uyar, G. Ö., Serin, Y., & Gürkan, Ö. E. (2018). Gluten-Free Diet Treatment in Celiac Disease: A Case Report. Journal of Nutrition and Diet, 46 (3), 320-324