Feeling bloating, gassy, and irritated? Much of what most people think of as tummy trouble can be avoided or managed with some lifestyle/diet changes. If you frequently suffer from gastrointestinal problems, ask your gastrointestinal doctor for tips. You may receive useful tips such as the following.
Tip #1 You Are What You Eat (And Drink)
This is an old but true adage. What you consume impacts how you look, age, function, and process foods and drinks.
In general, everyone–kids to adults in their senior years–needs fiber. It facilitates digestion and elimination, forestalling the impact of constipation and lowering your risk of developing GI cancers. However, limit insoluble fiber, as found in mushrooms and the skins of fruits, such as pears and apples. This kind of fiber increases bloating, flatulence, and rapid movement of the products of digestion through your intestines.
Additionally, lower your fat and sugar intake. They both irritate the GI tract and put on excess weight in the form of empty calories. Instead, up to your consumption of lean proteins, including fish and poultry.
Also, as we age, we need less iron. While women in their child-bearing years require more, others need far less. Iron can cause constipation. Decrease red meat, and if your vitamins contain a large amount of iron, choose another formulation.
Finally, lower your salt intake, and avoid excessive alcohol. That means one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men — no more.
Tip #2 Stop All Tobacco Usage
Whether you smoke or chew, tobacco is detrimental to your health. You should quit this habit through a supervised program with your primary care physician. Tobacco is linked to oral cancers (digestion begins in the mouth), and increases the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colorectal cancers.
Tip #3 Exercise
Anyone who is sedentary develops lax abdominal muscles, hemorrhoids, and even hiatal hernias (movement of the stomach through the diaphragm in the upper abdomen). Get the necessary 150 minutes of light aerobic exercise each week. Your heart, musculature, bones, and GI tract will be stronger and operate far more efficiently.
Tip #4 Stay hydrated
While everyone’s water needs vary a bit, the more you drink, the less constipated you will be. Water helps you break down your food into its basic components and helps you absorb those nutrients, too. You’ll look less bloated and feel energized rather than sluggish in the tummy.
Tip #5 Take Probiotics
You’ve probably heard of them, but just what are probiotics? Simply put, probiotics are healthy bacteria–ones that don’t make you sick but rather help you combat infections of all kinds. Additionally, probiotics are said to boost your immune system and increase your absorption of healthy nutrients. As such, people with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease seem to feel better and enjoy more normalized bowel function. Ask your board-certified gastroenterologist at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates for the probiotics that are right for you.
Tip #6 Never Ignore What Your Gut Is Saying
In other words, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, problems swallowing, or heartburn that just won’t resolve may signal serious GI problems. So, at the first sign of GI discomfort or dysfunction, give your gastroenterologist a call.
Your Best Gastrointestinal Health
At Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates in Carlisle, PA, our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians are focused on delivering excellent patient care. That includes education to keep you at your healthiest.