Did you know more than 100 million Americans have digestive problems? There are more than 200 over-the-counter remedies for digestive issues. Unfortunately, many digestive issues can become or create digestive diseases and disorders.
Many of us don't know that the digestive system plays a huge role in our overall immune health and that gastrointestinal problems can hurt your entire body. Believe it or not, GI problems can lead to everything from allergies and acne to arthritis and cancer.
The gut is a huge chemical factory that helps you digest your food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins and produce healing compounds that keep your gut healthy. Too many of the wrong ones...or not enough of the good ones...can lead to serious damage. Your entire immune system (and your body) is protected from the toxic environment in your gut by a layer only one cell thick. This thin layer...is basically containing a sewer. If that barrier is damaged, you will get sick and create an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body.
Your gut guides your overall well-being. Quite literally, your gut is the epicenter of your mental and physical health. It's extremely common to experience occasional digestive issues, but it's also too common to ignore your gut when it's trying to tell you something.
For instance, we may experience indigestion from time to time. When it happens, we write it off as just one of those things you have to deal with. We need to think about what it really means. Indigestion is your body's way of telling you it's struggling to break down various components of the food you consume. Often, this is caused by a low number of the digestive enzymes that break down food and absorb nutrients properly. If indigestion is something you experience regularly, it's important to seek out the underlying cause.
Your gastroenterologist will be able to help you identify causes of your digestive symptoms as well as options for treating them. In the meantime, here are some simple steps you can take to help keep your gut healthy:
The summer season is here, bringing with it longer and warmer days and an abundance of opportunities to eat a high-fiber diet – fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes – to help keep your digestive system healthy.
So what exactly is dietary fiber? Also known as roughage or bulk, the Mayo Clinic explains dietary fiber as the parts of plant foods that our bodies can’t digest or absorb. While our bodies break down food components like fats, proteins and carbohydrates, they’re not able to digest fiber. Rather, fiber passes through our stomach, small intestine and colon and out our bodies.
In the Healthy Lifestyle section of its website, the Clinic also touts the many benefits of a high-fiber diet, including:
The Health and Medicine Division, which provides science-based advice on medicine and health issues, recommends 38 grams of daily fiber for men age 50 and younger and 25 grams for women. For adults over the age of 51, the recommendation is 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women.
Keep these guidelines in mind when you need to bring a covered dish to a barbecue or are looking to pack a healthy snack for a hike. It’s not that difficult to choose tasty foods that also provide soluble fiber (dissolves in water) or insoluble fiber (doesn’t dissolve).
Just one medium artichoke offers 10.3 grams of fiber, while a cup of peas offers 8.8 grams. A cup of sweet corn – a summertime staple – has 3.6 grams of fiber. Raspberries also are a great source of fiber – 8 grams in just one cup.
Meanwhile, you can also get a dose of dietary fiber through a variety of grains, cereals and pastas. A cup of whole wheat spaghetti offers 6.3 grams of fiber, while a cup of instant cooked oatmeal offers 4 grams. When you head to the movies this summer, don’t forget to stop by the concession stand for some air-popped popcorn. Three cups will get you 3.6 grams of fiber toward your daily goal.
The board-certified gastroenterologists at Northeast Digestive Health Center can diagnose and treat a variety of digestive conditions and related diseases. If you’re experiencing symptoms or have concerns or questions about your digestive health, contact us today.
Holidays are infamous for expansive dinner menus, catching up with family over glasses of wine, indulging in decadent desserts, and days of overeating resulting in long naps on the couch. Saying the holidays are tough on your digestive system is an understatement. November through January are known for high stress, activities and travel, and indulgent food and alcohol … which all take a serious toll on your gut health.
The digestive system plays a crucial role in our overall immune health and gastrointestinal (GI) problems can hurt your entire body and can lead to everything from allergies and acne to arthritis and cancer.
The gut is a huge chemical factory that helps you digest your food, regulate hormones, get rid of toxins and produce healing compounds that keep you healthy. Too many of the wrong ones ... or not enough of the good ones ... can lead to serious damage. Your gut guides your overall well-being.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to reassess what didn’t work in the past and create and prioritize new goals. If your 2019 resolutions include living a healthier lifestyle, don’t forget that your digestive health is directly impacted by the foods you eat and the lifestyle you live. Consider incorporating these digestive HEALTH tips into your daily routine.
You are six steps closer to improving your digestive health and overall sense of well-being. Remember, more than 100 million Americans have digestive problems. If you are struggling with digestive issues, don’t be afraid to contact a professional. Trust your gut; your gastroenterologist will be able to help you identify causes of your digestive symptoms, as well as offer options for treating them.
Studies show that kids who stay healthier – including a healthy gut – are able to better ward off classroom cooties, they can see a boost in brain function and improved mood, and they make the best learners.
The Natural Nutritionist notes several reasons why gut health is important for children:
While there’s not one superfood that can provide optimal gut health, there are a variety of foods that can help support a robust system and can easily be incorporated into kids’ breakfasts or lunch boxes.
Superfoods Pack a Healthy Punch
In her blog, family and health nutrition advocate Ashley Koch lists five foods that pack a healthy punch:
Koch notes the beneficial bacteria in the gut ferment prebiotic foods, which feed the good bacteria, allows the good bugs to thrive and crowds out the bad bugs. Some beneficial prebiotic foods include green bananas, asparagus, sunchokes, garlic, onions and leeks. While some of these have strong aromas and not suitable for school lunches, they can play a part of healthy at-home meals.
Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
It’s important for kids to maintain their energy levels at school. While parents should pack foods that their kids will actually eat, pack lunchboxes that are healthy and well-balanced.
The Healing Gut Community notes parents sometimes overpack lunches because they don’t want kids to be hungry throughout the day; however, they shouldn’t be hungry if you pack the right foods and follow a simple 4 + 1: Main meal, nutritious snack, fruit, drink and an extra snack for long days or increased activity.
Main meal recommendations:
Speaking of fruit … remember that many fruits are high in natural sugars so keep them in moderation. Common choices are bananas, apples and berries.
Also, steer clear of fruit juice boxes and instead stick to fresh, filtered water – it works best for hydration and contains no sugar. If you think your child needs a little extra boost in his or her lunch box, try adding some coconut yogurt.
Right after the holidays, when you think you’re out of the woods and ready to start eating healthy again, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate appear everywhere you look. Valentine’s Day can be a tough time for many who are trying to keep on track toward healthy eating.
Whether you’re planning a candle-lit dinner, family movie night with the kids, or gathering with friends, Valentine’s Day is a land mine of rich food and dessert for your average person. But for an estimated 100 million Americans living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) who are trying to watch their diet, it can be a nightmare.
Surrounded by unhealthy treats and maintaining a healthy diet is next to impossible. However, there is good news! Individuals with NAFLD can opt for high-quality dark chocolate, which is known for having antioxidants compared to milk and white chocolate, which have none. And one doesn’t have to stick to Valentine’s Day to enjoy dark chocolate. Just an ounce and half of dark chocolate a day can reduce stress hormones and blood pressure, which is crucial in keeping the progression of NAFLD at bay.
Here are some other healthy suggestions to turn to:
Armed with this information, go ahead and enjoy Valentine’s Day – with a little bit of sweetness and a whole lot of love.