This quiz will guide you through a series of questions to help assess your knowledge about Your Gut.
Up until the 1930’s stomach cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths and today it’s eighth. What is credited with the change?
Chilling meat and other foods saw the western diet change, including more fresh fruits and vegetables (high in anti-carcinogenic anti-oxidants) and less cured and preserved meats (high in nitrites and carcinogenic nitrosamines).
Globally the health advice is that we should reduce our eating of cured meats and red meat in general, and more frequently getting our protein hit from alternative, more gut friendly sources.
How big is our gut? We know the gut is nine metres long but if fully unfolded how big a space would it cover?
Besides its 9-metre length the gut has between 800 and 900 folds and if laid out flat its estimated to cover the area of a standard tennis court.
Our gut starts at the oesophagus which propels food into the stomach which prepares the food for digestion in the small and large intestines, then into the colon where the body’s waste is concentrated and discharged as a poop. It’s quite the journey.
If you’ve eaten too quickly, feel awful and want to speed up digestion what should you do?
The stomach is asymmetrical and more naturally lies to the left. Gravity helps drain stomach contents into the small intestine a little faster.
Overeating causes the stomach to expand, putting pressure on other organs which must work harder to produce the hormones and enzymes which break food down. Watch your portion sizes guys, and don’t rush your eating if you can avoid it.
One less savoury aspect of our gut is wind. But its commonly held that men produce more offensive wind than woman
The smells produced from our gut in the form of wind are totally dependent on what you eat and the reaction of foods in your gut.
There is absolutely no difference in this between men and women, except maybe that some guys enjoy the result more than others.
Stomach acid is so powerful it can burn the skin so why doesn’t it harm the stomach?
The mucus lining of our stomachs prevents harm, although if the acid breaches that and reaches the lining that’s when we develop ulcers.
If that same acid makes its way up our oesophagus, it can cause heartburn or what is called acid reflux, often relieved using antacid medication to neutralise this acid.
Why is stress a threat to the gut?
Stress produces a rush of adrenaline that slows down digestion by relaxing the intestinal muscles and reducing blood flow (getting ready for fight or flight) and can cause bloating. Coffee, tea, citrus fruits, bananas, chocolate, cocoa and vanilla can raise epinephrine (adrenaline) levels.
If stressed take deep breaths and relax while eating, but adrenaline is generally only dispersed when we undertake some form of cardiovascular activity. Regular exercise is the key to so much.
Our gut is chockfull of bacteria, all which are there for a reason. For every gram of intestinal content how many bacteria do you think there are?
The numbers are just mind blowing. Our gut is home to literally trillions of microscopic organisms, microbes.
These microbes or bacteria help break specific food particles down for use around the body, and can protect against foreign bacteria entering or growing in your stomach.
Around 30% of our microbe make up (called microbiome) is common to all humans, but the rest is special to you. Keep it in as good a nick as you can.
What is peristalsis?
Our gut comes with its own cleaning system, starting around an hour after eating when powerful wave-like muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract.
It starts in the oesophagus where strong wave-like motions of the smooth muscle move balls of swallowed food to the stomach where it is churned into a liquid mixture (chyme) The waves (peristalsis) move this mix through and out of the digestive tract while removing the minerals and nutrients our bodies need.
How long does food take to pass through our gut after we have eaten?
After we eat, it takes 6-8 hours for food to be broken down and pass through firstly your stomach and then the small intestine.
Next it’s into your large intestine (colon) for further digestion, absorption of water and, finally, elimination of undigested food.
Meat and fish take longer to digest because of their complex protein and fat molecules, fibre-rich foods are faster and sugary snack food is faster still (that’s why you get hungry so soon after eating them).
Why is it recommended that you eat something when you are drinking alcohol?
Food slows alcohol absorption by keeping it in your stomach longer.
Basically our bodies don’t like alcohol as much as we think. So it makes a priority of getting rid of this potent foreign juice, mainly by absorbing it into the bloodstream in your stomach.
With no food present, the valve between the stomach and small intestine opens, letting more alcohol into the small intestine where it is quickly absorbed across the much larger intestine surface area. Not that good. Food is the alcohol handbrake our bodies need.
Your score is
The average score is 45%