Digestion Time Of Various Foods

Dr. Michael Klaper believes inside every person, there's an innate force that wants to be healthy.

Digestion time is basically a process of breaking down big food particles into individual molecules, tiny enough to squeeze through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream.

Your body uses mechanical and chemical means to digest food and it varies depending on the individual according to Michael Picco, M.D With Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology.

The digestion process takes between 24 and 72 hours, six to eight hours to pass through your stomach and small intestine. Then the food enters your large intestine (colon) for further digestion and absorption of water. Elimination of undigested food residue usually begins after 24 hours. Complete elimination from the body may take several days."

Mayo Clinic Slide Show: See How Your Digestive System Works.

(The time spent in the stomach before emptying).

Water: when stomach is empty, leaves immediately and goes into intestines.

Juices: Fruit vegetables, vegetable broth - 15 to 20 minutes.

Semi-liquid: Blended salad, vegetables or fruits) - 20 to 30 min.

Fruits: Watermelon - 20 min.digestion time. Other melons - Cantaloupe, Cranshaw, Honeydew, etc. - 30 min. Oranges, grapefruit, grapes - 30 min. Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc. - digest in 40 min.

Vegetables: Raw tossed salad vegetables - tomato, lettuces, cucumber, celery, red or green pepper, other succulent vegetables - 30 to 40 min. digestion. - Steamed or cooked vegetables Leafy vegetables - escarole, spinach, kale, collards etc. - 40 min. - Zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, yellow squash, corn on cob - all 45 min. take to digest. Root vegetables - carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips etc. - 50 min.

Semi-Concentrated Carbohydrates - Starches. Jerusalem artichokes & leafy, acorn & butternut squashes, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, chestnuts - all 60 min. digestion.

Concentrated Carbohydrates - Grains:

Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, cornmeal, oats (first 3 vegetables best) - 90 min.

Legumes & Beans - (Concentrated Carbohydrate & Protein) Lentils, limes, chick peas, peas, pigeon peas, kidney beans, etc. it take 90 to digest soy beans -120 min. digestion time

Seeds & Nuts. Seeds - Sunflower, pumpkin, pepita, sesame - Digestive time approx. 2 hours.Nuts - Almonds, filberts, peanuts (raw), cashews, Brazil, walnuts, pecans etc. - 2 1/2 to 3 hours to digest.

Dairy: Skim milk, cottage or low fat pot cheese or ricotta - approx. 90 min. digestion time whole milk cottage cheese - 120 min. digestion whole milk hard cheese - 4 to 5 hours to digest

Animal proteins: Egg yolk - 30 min. digestion time Whole egg - 45 min.

Fish - cod, scrod, flounder, sole seafood - 30 min. digestion time Fish - salmon, salmon trout, herring, (more fatty fish) - 45 min. to 60 digestion time

Chicken - 1.1/2 to 2 hours digestion time (without skin)

Turkey - 2 to 2 1/4 hours digestion time (without skin)

Beef, lamb - 3 to 4 hours digestion time

Pork - 41/2 to 5 hours.

Top Tips for Good Digestion

  • Eat in order of digestibility.
  • You should eat the easiest to digest foods first in each meal and slowly move towards the more complex. Think of a highway, if the slowest cars are in front they'll hold up the faster cars behind them, causing a traffic jam. The same goes for your food. Eat those fastest to digest first and save the tougher to digest foods for the second half of your meal.

    Here are the time sequences for different food groups:

  • Water & Juices: 20-30 minutes.
  • Fruits, Smoothies, Soups: 30-45 minutes.
  • Vegetables: 30-45 minutes.
  • Beans, Grains, Starches: 2-3 hours.
  • Meat, Fish, Poultry: 3 or more hours.
  • Drink warm or hot liquids with your meal.
  • Ice-cold drinks can slow down the digestive process, think of it as putting ice on a muscle. The muscle stiffens and does not function as well. Warm or room temperature water, juice, or decaf tea will encourage proper digestion. (Just remember the traffic jam – drink liquids prior to meals)

  • Eat at regular meals times.
  • It is important to be regular with what you eat and the times of day you eat. Eating similar food groups and at similar times each day has a regulating effect on your digestive system.

  • Be conscious of what you eat and your portion sizes, because too much sugar in your food can cause your blood sugar to spike, which stimulates the pancreas to release more of the hormone insulin.
  • Overconsumption is the number one cause of indigestion. Our brain signals the feeling of fullness about ten minutes after we're actually full. So stop eating before you are full. Odds are you'll feel full ten minutes later!

  • Chew your food completely and don't talk while eating.
  • Incomplete chewing and talking while eating can cause premature swallowing. Our digestive systems are not designed to digest large pieces of food, when we put large pieces in our stomachs it can lead to incomplete digestion (aka: digestive discomfort).

  • Relax while eating your meal.
  • Eating when you are rushed increases your stress and slows down the digestive process. Create a nice calming atmosphere when eating and make sure you can devote time to eating.

  • Practice good posture.
  • When you slouch or hunch over extra pressure is put on the digestive organs in your abdomen. This extra pressure can cause poor digestion. You should practice sitting with your shoulders back and your chin tucked in. This will allow more room for the digestive organs and will help improve digestion.

  • Don't eat late at night.
  • Our bodies, including our digestive system, slow down in the evening hours as it gets ready to rest and rejuvenate. When we put food into our stomachs at these late hours there are not enough digestive enzymes to properly digest it. This undigested food sits in your stomach and will often disturb your sleep.

  • Take a brisk walk after eating.
  • Forget about not be active for 30 minutes after each meal. Increased physical activity actually helps jump start your digestive system and increases the production of digestive enzymes. This will lead to more complete digestion of your food and less digestive discomfort!

  • Try a spinal twist.
  • Spinal twists allow excess toxins in the digestive system to be released, which has a calming effect. While in a cross legged sitting position, slowly turn to the right and hold while taking 5 deep breathes then repeat this process on the left side. Source: Puristat.com, Mayo Clinic.com


    I'd love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment below.

    Return to Foods That Boost Metabolism page from
    this Digestion Time page .

    Home Page BMI Chart.  |  Internal Cleansing | Contact Page |