After you eat something, the food takes a winding trip that starts with being chewed up and ends when… well, you know. But a lot happens in between this journey. Your digestive (gastrointestinal or GI) tract is a long, muscular tube to be that runs from your mouth to your anus. It’s around 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system to break down things you consume and break them down into smaller molecules of nutrients to be distributed throughout the body. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the blood then absorbs these and carries them throughout the body for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair. At O’Connor Health Center in Redwood City, Los Altos, and San Jose, we want to help you make choices to help you body stay on tract.
NIH states that About 60 to 70 million Americans are afflicted with digestive diseases, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). GERD is when the contents in your stomach come back up into your esophagus or throat. IBS consists of symptoms that include pain in your stomach and changes in bowel habits. And though there are many factors that can impact gut health, including the way your body is built, genetic history, stress levels, and eating habits, it is important to understand that there are no quick fixes when it comes to digestive issues. You can do well by creating a routine schedule, eating healthier and smaller more frequent meals, exercising, and sleeping well. Here are some other tips for better gut health:
- Eating your food slower and chewing your food well may help you swallow less air and better sense when you’re full.
- Smaller meals help to prevent you from overfilling your stomach and encourage digestion. When your stomach is full, you’re at a greater risk of reflux.
- Limit how late you want to stop eating, especially since your GI tract is most active in the morning and afternoon.
- Managing your stress with relaxation breathing, mindfulness, and exercise is beneficial because stress makes it harder to digest our food well.
- Creating a routine for your eating schedule can be better for your GI tract.
- Probiotics, or supplemental healthful bacteria, may help ease constipation and IBS symptoms.
- Eating more fiber (something Americans are bad at) also helps with constipation. Foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts are great sources of fibers and nutrients to add to your diet.
(this list was compiled from information provided at https://newsinhealth.nih.gov)
At O’Connor Health Center in Redwood City, Los Altos, and San Jose, our aim is to focus on improving your health and implement a plan for you can fit into your busy schedule. We provide an environment that is non-judgmental and encourages our clients to ask us any questions they might have for us. Your health goals are important to us, give us a call at (650) 334-1010 to schedule a consultation now!