How To Maintain a Healthy Digestive System
A range of techniques can help you to reduce your risk of developing a Digestive System Disorder. These techniques fall into the following broad categories:
- Dietary, Exercise, and Life Style Guidelines
- Self Care Techniques
Both of these categories are discussed below.
Dietary, Exercise, and Life Style Guidelines
A person can reduce their risks of developing a range of Digestive System Disorders, and add many more years of healthy, active time to their life span, by:
• Avoiding and taking precautions against disease, such as being properly vaccinated and seeking early diagnosis and treatment if you suspect health problems.
• Eating a healthy, high fiber diet including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, while avoiding processed foods, fast foods, and foods that are high in salt, sugar, and/or fat.
• Avoiding health hazards, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug abuse. Smoking also increases acid reflux and reduces saliva production. Saliva helps protect your Esophagus from Stomach acid.
• Maintaining a positive mental attitude and keep active, especially during your retirement.
• Ensuring that you get enough quality sleep each night.
• Taking steps to reduce the stress in your life. Digestion slows during periods of stress, and this can cause or exacerbate digestive system disorders, such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, can help may help reduce stress.
• Incorporating at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine.
• Maintaining a healthy body weight. Slimming down helps reduce the pressure on your Stomach, and this act alone can help relieve a range of Digestive System Disorders.
Self Care Techniques
In addition to the above dietary, exercise, and lifestyle guidelines, a range of self care techniques can also help you maintain a healthy digestive system.
The following self care techniques can help you reduce your risk of developing a range of digestive system disorders:
• Eat Small Meals – eat small meals regularly throughout the day, rather than a single large meal. Large meals can stretch and bloat your stomach, causing enormous stress on your digestive system.
• Avoid Problem Foods – avoid or moderate your consumption of alcohol, caffeinated drinks, chocolate, spicy foods, acidic foods (such as citrus fruits and tomato-based foods), onions, peppermint, and spearmint, all of which can inflame parts of the digestive tract and also increase production of stomach acid, leading to irritation and/or inflammation of parts of the digestive tract.
• Limit fatty foods – fatty foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter and slow stomach emptying, which increases the amount of time that acid can back up into your esophagus.
• Eating Habits – sit up after you eat, and wait at least three hours before going to bed or taking a nap to allow food to progress from the stomach to the small intestine.
• Avoid exercise immediately after eating, especially avoid strenuous or high impact activity. Try to wait at least two to three hours before you engage in any strenuous activity. Low-impact exercise, such as walking, is fine.
• Elevate the head of your bed even by just 6 inches, as this can gravity to prevent Stomach acid from moving up into your Esophagus as you sleep. A foam wedge under the mattress can also do the required elevation. However, don’t try to use extra pillows, as this will place more pressure on your abdomen.
• Avoid tight fitting clothes such as belts, pants, and so on because they put pressure on your Stomach and restrict digestion.
• Avoid certain medications (if possible) which may cause or exacerbate heart burn and gastric reflux, such as:
o Calcium channel blockers
o Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium
o Sedatives and tranquilizers
o Tetracycline (antibiotic)
• Avoid Trauma – avoid activities and sports that may cause damage to your body, especially your abdominal area in the case of Digestive System Disorders, or else wear suitable protective clothing to prevent damage and injuries.