Digestive Health & Support in Northern Virginia, VA
5 Tips for Restoring Your Digestive Health
Everyone experiences digestive problems at some point in his or her life. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), between 60 and 70 million people are affected by some form of digestive disease. Common digestive problems include constipation, food intolerances, leaky gut syndrome , gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Their symptoms include cramps, headache, diarrhea, gas, vomiting, swallowing difficulties, sore throat, and incomplete bowel movements.
Minor digestive system problems can quickly turn into major problems if they are left untreated. Thankfully, you can help manage your daily digestive health in a few simple yet effective ways. The following are some tips on how to improve digestive problems and how to restore your digestive health.
Eat High-Fiber Foods
Fiber is an important factor in digestive health, as soluble fiber creates a gel to that keeps your digestive system full and insoluble fiber bulks up your stool. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake of fiber for adults is 25 grams per 2,000 calories; the average American only eats about 16 grams of fiber per day. This recommended amount can vary based on age and sex: for woman under the age of 50, 21-25 grams are recommended, while 30-38 grams are recommended for men under 50 years old. The recommended amount is slightly less for people over fifty.
Many people believe that high-fiber foods simply include whole-grain and cereal products, but there are many other high-fiber foods that you can include in your digestive health diet. Specifically, soluble food sources include fruit and vegetables, while insoluble fiber can be found in nuts, beans, and legumes. Incorporate fruits that are non-acidic like bananas and coconut and vegetables such as lentils, peas, and Brussels sprouts into your diet to improve your digestive health. If you do decide to increase your fiber intake, make sure to increase it gradually, as to not put too much strain on your digestive system.
Consume Probiotic Foods
Probiotics are essential for a healthy digestive system. These “good” or “helpful” gut bacteria help to create a stronger immune system, improved digestion, and even healthier skin.
There are many different foods that are high in probiotics. Fermented dairy products are a good source, particularly Greek yogurt, kefir, and raw cheese. Other foods include sauerkraut, dark chocolate, green peas, pickles, green olives, kombucha, nato and kimchi. In addition to food, probiotic supplements can also help to restore beneficial bacteria to the gut.
Water can help ensure your digestive system is working properly in many ways. Drinking water with your meals can assist in breaking down food as it moves through your digestive system and also dissolve fats and soluble fiber. As a rule, try to drink eight glasses of water per day. Keep in mind that as you add fiber into your diet, you should increase your water intake as well; extra amounts of fiber can increase your risk for constipation.
Control Your Stress Levels
Stress is often unavoidable, but it is manageable. Stress can contribute to symptoms of digestive system problems such as cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. You can help control your stress levels by exercising at least 30 minutes each day and participating in stress reduction therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, breathing techniques, or by talking to a mental health professional.
Skip Out on Smoking and Other Bad Habits
For some people, smoking might help to relieve chronic stress. However, smoking can contribute to a number of health issues, including digestive problems. Smoking cigarettes might increase the likelihood of acid reflux and can lead to health problems like stomach ulcers and heartburn.
In addition, excessive liquor and caffeine consumption can lead to digestive health problems. Avoid eating three big meals a day; try to eat five to six smaller meals a day instead. When you eat too much food, your digestive system is not able to handle all of the food at one time.
Start Feeling Better Today!
While there are many different ways that you can help keep your digestive system healthy right at home, it is important to know when to reach out to a medical professional if your symptoms become too much to handle. Chronic gut symptoms could be a sign of more-serious health conditions, such as acid reflux , ulcerative colitis , gallstones, a parasitic infection, or Crohn's disease .
To schedule an appointment with a digestive health specialist in Northern Virginia who can devise a strategy to optimize your gut health, call (703) 327-2434 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online.
Virginia Center for Health & Wellness
Address39070 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, VA 20105
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm