How long does it take for food to reach your stomach?: About 2 to 3 seconds
. When you swallow food, it enters your esophagus. That’s a stretchy tube about 10 inches long that connects the back of the throat to the stomach. It’s narrow, but the muscles in its walls slowly squeeze food down and through. This is called peristalsis. It normally takes just a couple of seconds for each bite.
Digestion happens mostly in the stomach.: False. But it starts there. Food and drinks mix with gastric juices. This creates a mixture called chyme. That’s dumped into the small intestine, where most of the digestion takes place. From there, food is dissolved, nutrients are absorbed into the body, and waste is sent to the colon.
What’s the best way to shrink the size of your stomach?: None
. No exercise can change the size of your actual stomach. When it’s empty, it’s only about as big as a fist. Planks, sit-ups, and crunches can tone your abdominal muscles, which lie between your stomach and your skin. But even that may not give you visible results. To really “lose your belly,” you need to shed the layer of fat that sits on top of your ab muscles. Any kind of workout that gets your heart rate up and burns calories will help. So will eating fewer calories.
Foods that contain insoluble fiber (which does not dissolve in water) cause less gas and bloating than those with soluble fiber (which does dissolve in water): True. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, peas, beans, and most fruits. Bacteria in your large intestine break it down and digest it. In about one-third of people, it creates methane gas. That can make you burp, fart, or feel bloated. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and some vegetables. It’s not digested by the body. It passes through the intestines unchanged, so it makes little gas.
Drinking coffee can cause a bowel movement.: True. Ever finish your morning cup of joe only to find yourself running to the bathroom? If so, it’s not just you. According to the American Chemical Society, coffee has this effect on about 30% of people. It’s not the caffeine. Scientists believe a compound in the drink causes the stomach to make extra gastric acid. That can cause it to dump its contents into the intestines earlier than it normally would. Coffee has also been shown to increase digestive hormones in the intestines, which help move waste along.
If you have acid reflux, which of the following can improve symptoms?: Losing weight, Raising the head of your bed, and Eating four to five meals a day. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when the stomach’s contents flow backward into the esophagus. If you’re overweight, dropping some pounds can relieve some of the pressure on your stomach. If you get acid reflux when you lie down at night, raise the head of your bed. Gravity can help keep stomach acid down. One study found that eating four to five small meals a day relieved symptoms better than three large ones. If these things don’t help, talk to your doctor about treatment options.