A healthy gut is crucial for overall health. If you want to keep your health at high levels as you getting older, first to do is to know how to keep your gut healthy.
We will introduce you with 13 simple ways that if you follow the will helo ou to maintain a healthy gut.
As we get older, our bodies start to change — including our ability to digest what we eat. A variety of age-related factors, including the medications you take, a sedentary lifestyle, and even tooth decay and gum disease could be taking a toll on healthy eating and healthy digestion.
The result: the possibility of indigestion, constipation, diverticulitis, and ulcers.
For those who are looking to stay healthy even as they age, one key is to take care of our gut microbiome. When it comes to human health, it comes at top priority since unlike our joints and reflexes, microbes don’t lose function with age. Around 70 percent of our entire immune system is located in our gut, which means that there is constant communication between our gut and our immune system.
Read More: How Your Gut Microbiome Affects Your Brain
And while the flora living in our gut doesn’t age with us, they do, however, change. So here’s how you make sure it stays “forever young.”
What To Do To Keep Your Gut Healthy
1. Chew your food properly
Digestion begins in the mouth, with an enzyme in the saliva called amylase. Adequate chewing increases the surface area of food in the mouth and allows this amylase to efficiently break it down. As we age, we can start to produce less saliva, and subsequently chewing our food properly becomes even more important.
Swallowing unchewed food can put increased pressure on the rest of our digestive system, resulting in problems such as gas and bloating. It can also negatively impact the number of nutrients you absorb from your food.
2. Stay hydrated
Drinking water and other fluids, such as orange juice with pulp, can help ease constipation, which becomes more common as we age. Liquids and fiber make a healthy digestion combo by bulking up and softening stools so they pass more easily through the digestive tract. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, says Charlene Prather, MD, advisor to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and an associate professor of internal medicine at St. Louis University Medical School in Missouri. Keep in mind that liquids with caffeine, such as tea and coffee, have the opposite effect and can dehydrate you.
3. Eat smaller meals
As we get older, the stomach cannot accommodate as much food due to decreased elasticity of the stomach wall (it becomes less stretchy). Also, the rate at which the stomach empties food into the small intestine decreases. Eating little and often will ensure that the digestive system is not overloaded, and help avoid digestive discomfort caused by the stomach being too full. Slowing down the rate at which you eat will also allow the body to get better in synch with its satiety signals, enabling the stomach to tell the brain when it’s full up to prevent overeating.
4. Keep moving
Regular exercise is necessary to promote normal contractions of the bowel, and leading a sedentary lifestyle is another factor that can underlie chronic constipation. This is particularly common in the elderly when mobility can become restricted. Simply getting up and doing some light movement such as gentle walking can help to ease constipation, as too can stretching and certain yoga positions.
5. Be mindful of lactose
A decline in the production of lactase, an enzyme that digests the lactose in dairy products, can occur with age, leading to intolerance in some older adults. If you suspect your digestive symptoms might be linked to lactose consumption, it is advised that you see your GP, who is likely to recommend either testing or an elimination diet.
If lactose intolerance is diagnosed, milk and milk products should be avoided, but many individuals find they are still able to tolerate cheese and live yogurt, which has much lower levels of lactose. If following a low dairy/ dairy-free diet adequate calcium must be consumed from other dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, tofu, and sardines (with bones). A vitamin D supplement may also be recommended.
6. Speak to your doctor about medication
One of the major contributors to digestive distress in older adults is a prescription medicine. Calcium channel blockers, often prescribed for heart conditions, and pain medication, particularly narcotic pain relievers, can all cause constipation.
Aspirin or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) pain relievers, sold over-the-counter, can upset the stomach. Metformin, a commonly prescribed oral anti-diabetes drug, can cause nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, and diarrhea. If you are concerned, talk with your doctor to see if your medications could be underlying any digestive symptoms.
7. Support stomach acid
In older individuals, conditions that decrease stomach acid secretion, such as gastritis, become more common. Certain medications (such as PPIs) and chronic stress can also impact this.
“Decreased stomach acid output can have several negative consequences on the digestive system, because stomach acid assists the breakdown of proteins, stimulates the pancreas and small intestine to produce digestive enzymes, and also prevents pathogens and unhealthy bacteria from moving further down the digestive tract” explains Dietician Michael Lawler. “Symptoms are primarily heartburn, bloating, belching, poor digestion, diarrhea or constipation”.
Individuals can support stomach acid production through several dietary interventions, including relaxing and eating slowly at mealtimes, and drinking room temperature or warm water or tea with meals rather than chilled drinks.
Read More: Bloated Stomach Remedies That Actually Work
8. Get your vitamin B12 levels tested
Vitamin B12 (found in animal foods) requires stomach acid to be released from food and absorbed, and if stomach acid output is compromised, it may be that you’re not absorbing this vitamin at an optimal level. Pernicious anemia – where the immune system attacks healthy cells in your stomach, is the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK and is thought to affect around 1 in 10 people aged 75 or over.
Symptoms of low B12 can include brain fog, memory problems, fatigue, depression, muscle fatigue and tingling in the extremities. If you’re concerned about B12, it’s advised you go to your GP to have your levels tested.
9. Consider a probiotic
The “live” bacteria in our digestive tract is known to have a huge impact on digestive health, and research has shown us that the composition of these bacteria changes with age.
“One of the most significant changes to occur in the digestive system as we age, is a change or depletion in our gut bacteria, which can have several direct and indirect effects” explains Kerry Beeson, a Nutritional Therapist at Optibac probiotics. “It’s known that one of the most significant types of bacteria to decline as we age is the Bifidobacteria species, which has a profound impact on digestion and in particular bowel regularity, as these bacteria reside in the colon where stools are formed.”
Low levels of this bacteria may manifest as symptoms such as constipation and bloating. A way to enhance the populations of these bacteria is to supplement with a good quality probiotic supplement.
10. Eat gut-friendly foods
The levels of bacteria in your gut can be further boosted through diet. Increasing intake of dietary prebiotics (oats, bananas, leeks, onions, garlic), polyphenols (blueberries, cocoa, green tea) and fermented foods (kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso) will all support a healthy gut bacterial environment.
By eating an array these foods (the more diverse the better), and keeping sugary foods to a minimum, you can help to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, providing a good environment for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients.
11. Maintain a healthy weight
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common upper digestive tract disorder in older adults and occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.
Being overweight has been identified as one of the leading causes of GERD, as excess weight increases abdominal pressure, making stomach acid leakage or back-flow more likely. Maintaining a healthy weight not only decreases the risk of GERD but facilitates better mobility and physical activity which is essential for good digestive health.
12. Reduce Stress
As we age, our responsibilities and our stress levels can rise. Excess stress can increase gastric acid, which can cause heartburn symptoms and indigestion. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers or irritable bowel disease, but it can make these digestive disorders flare. The best ways to reduce indigestion and stress include regular exercise — it releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones — and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. Also, be sure to get enough sleep.
13. Maintain your smile
Healthy digestion begins in the mouth, with your teeth. Taking care of your teeth is important as you age because you rely on your teeth to chew your food well, and you need to chew your food well to break it down into small enough pieces to be absorbed by your body. Older people with poor teeth may have more indigestion because they can’t chew well, Prather says. Brushing and flossing daily and getting regular dental check-ups can help promote a healthy mouth and healthy digestion.
Conclusion: If you incorporate these easy and simple ways to your daily routine you will have a healthy gut which means that your overall health will be great. It doesn’t mean that if you are getting older you must visit a doctor every day, just change your lifestyle and diet and things will be great for you.