Studies suggest that digestive disorders have become more prevalent in the last decade. In the US alone, more than 60 million people are diagnosed with gastrointestinal conditions every year. It’s not always possible to prevent symptoms, but there are steps we can take to lower case numbers and reduce risks. In this article, we’ll discuss what can be done to combat rising rates of digestive disorders.
Increasing fiber intake
Over 92 percent of American adults don’t consume enough fiber. Fiber is essential for optimum gut health. If you’re unsure whether you get enough fiber from your diet, it’s an excellent idea to use an app to monitor your diet. Keeping a food diary will enable you to see how you’re doing in terms of your intake of fiber and key nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. If you’re not getting enough fiber, increase consumption by adding vegetables, fruit, pulses, seeds and whole-grain cereals, pasta and rice. It’s important to seek advice from your doctor or a dietitian if you have already been diagnosed with a digestive disorder, as you may need to follow a specific diet.
Seeking advice if you experience symptoms
Most people will experience symptoms linked to gastrointestinal conditions at some point, but often, they are temporary and they’re not caused by an underlying issue. You may have diarrhea if you’ve eaten something that hasn’t agreed with you, or you might be constipated if your diet is low in fiber, for example. If you do have symptoms that persist or get worse, it’s important to see your doctor. If symptoms last for longer than two weeks, you have frequent bouts of diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating or constipation, or you spot blood in your feces, it’s wise to get checked out. Your doctor may recommend further tests and you may be referred to a gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, management and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, including constipation, pancreatitis, diverticulitis and acid reflux.
Regular exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Being active is beneficial for your heart, lungs, muscles and bones and it can also boost gut health. Try to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. You can include a wide range of activities, such as hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming, exercise classes, gym workouts, team sports, trampolining, Pilates and dancing.
Focusing on nutrition
We live in a society that is consumed by dieting and losing weight. When we talk about our diets, we tend to automatically think about weight loss. Taking control of your diet can help you lose weight if your BMI is too high, but the most critical reason to make changes to your menu is to boost nutrition. Your body relies on the food you eat to provide essential nutrients. Try to follow a healthy eating plan, which nourishes your body and mind. For digestive health, it’s particularly beneficial to include plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole-grain foods and seeds and pulses and avoid processed foods.
Digestive disorders have become increasingly common. Not all cases can be prevented, but there are ways to lower risks. Exercising regularly, increasing fiber intake, eating a healthy, balanced diet and seeking advice if you develop unusual symptoms can all help.
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