Diet has a large role in the health of your GI tract and helping you feel at your best! Continue reading for tips on lifestyle and diet changes for a healthy GI tract.
Fiber is one of the most important dietary components for keeping your gut working optimally. The recommended daily fiber intake is 25g, which is above the average amount consumed by most Americans. Good bacteria in the GI tract thrive on fiber and it keeps your gut moving. Try increasing your fiber intake through dietary sources such as beans, leafy greens, and whole grains. You can also supplement with OTC products like Benefiber, Citrucel, or Metamucil, which work best when used on a daily basis.
If you are prone to gas and bloating, try minimizing foods that contain high amounts of fructose, which is a sugar commonly found in fruit and honey. Fruits with high amounts of fructose include apples, pears, and mangos. Artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages commonly worsen gas and bloating as well.
If you have a history of reflux, there are also specific things you can do and foods you should minimize. In particular, try to maintain a healthy weight, avoid overeating, and avoid eating within 2-3 hours before bedtime. Dietary triggers that can exacerbate symptoms include alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, tomatoes and tomato products (like red sauce), garlic, onions (especially raw), citrus, chocolate, and mint. Smoking also exacerbates reflux and is associated with an increased risk for esophageal cancer (among other types of cancer).
Physical activity is also important! Research has shown that minimizing your time spent sitting reduces the risk of colon cancer. It also helps maintain a healthy weight, and keep your GI tract moving if you tend to be constipated.
Contact us at Hillmont GI for more information, or if you have been experiencing GI symptoms and have not had any evaluation. We can also refer you to a dietician if needed.