Track Your Transit Time to Improve Digestion

Most of us have our work commutes timed to a tee – we know exactly how much time we need to get dressed, allow for train delays, and make a pit stop for coffee without being late to the office. But how many of us are as knowledgeable about our other transit time? You know…. our poop.

Transit time refers to how long it takes food to make its way through your digestive system – from first bite to coming out the other end. Transit time may seem like random trivia, when in fact, it provides valuable insight into your digestive health and by extension, your overall health. It’s not trivial at all!

An ideal transit time is like Goldilocks – too slow is not good and too fast is not good either. You want a transit time that is just right, which is between 30-40 hours.

Anything less than 24 hours could indicate that food is moving too quickly, which sometimes presents as diarrhea, indicating that your body may not have enough time to absorb and assimilate the nutrients. By contrast, anything over 48 hours could indicate that food is moving too slowly, sometimes resulting in constipation, which may allow waste and toxins to sit and recirculate in the body longer.

“How do I know what my transit time is?” Easy!

First, pick your food of choice: white sesame seeds (swallowed whole with water, not chewed), or beets. Unchewed white sesame seeds will be easy to spot in poop. Likewise, beets turn poop a bright red color. You can’t miss it!

Ingest a teaspoon of sesame seeds or eat a small portion of beets. Note what day/time you ingest the food, then sit back, relax, and keep a look out over the next few days. Remember, the sweet spot is somewhere between 30-40 hours.

Repeat this process once a week for a few weeks to get an average. If your transit time falls outside the sweet spot, discuss this with your healthcare provider and consider small changes in diet and lifestyle that can help push it in the right direction.

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