In Gut Check! part 1 (http://wp.me/p4wldG-H) I talked about the 41 million people in the US alone who visit their doctor for GI issues. Do you suffer from unexplained stomach aches?
Someone who is lactose Intolerant doesn’t necessarily have to give up milk products entirely. Different people have different levels of tolerance for how much lactose they can consume. Eating yogurt is not a problem because it contains lactose, and tends not to cause problems.
Natalie Digate Muth, MPH, RD, is a registered dietician at the University of North Carolina and she suggests the following 9 steps to prevent common digestive ailments.
- Eat more Fiber. Consume 20-35 grams per day to prevent constipation, diarrhea, and symptoms of IBS. Good Sources include fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
- Make good food choices. Avoid junk food and snacks that are high in fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates.
- Drink lots of fluids. Eight glasses of water per day will aid mineral and vitamin absorption and will ease constipation.
- Limit your alcohol intake. If you drink, keep your limit to one glass per day. Alcohol can cause esophageal bleeding, diarrhea and acid reflux.
- Eat moderate portions. Eat more often, but less at each sitting. Smaller meals are digested more easily.
- Relax when you eat. Eating too quickly causes you to chew less and swallow more air, which causes heartburn, belching, bloating and gas.
- Control your stress levels. Stress can decrease the release of digestive enzymes and divert blood and oxygen from the digestivesystem to other parts of the body. This leads to heartburn, bloating, and constipation. Stress can also worsen an ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
- Use medications cautiously. Many anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can cause digestive disturbances.
- Don’t eat right before going to sleep. Studies have found that acid reflux sufferers are more likely to experience reflux symptoms if they eat within 3 hours of going to sleep.
Exercise Plays a Big Part
Regular exercise helps the digestive system work more effectively. Low to moderate intensity exercise actually helps digestion. Eating large meals, fats, and protein right before you workout can cause much gastric discomfort while you workout.
Be sure to drink sufficient fluids before, during and after your workout. Also, make sure that you eat a good well-rounded meal after your workout to replace energy stores.
Having a gastrointestinal disorder can be uncomfortable, painful, or even debilitating. But, making the appropriate dietary changes and keeping up a balanced and consistent exercise routine can help alleviate some or most of this discomfort. Consult your doctor about possible medications that can help you and remember that taking care of your digestive system is another way to “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”