We’ve looked at problems that can crop up in our digestive tract as we age and now we are going to look at some simple solutions. It’s important to understand the role our GI tract plays in our overall health.
The majority of our immune system lives in our gut. Since toxins coming into the body primarily through the GI tract, our body is prepared to defend itself! The gastrointestinal tract is full of microflora, or good bacteria, that contribute to digestion, control regularity, maintain a healthy immune system, reduce the risk of allergies and can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. Some medications like steroids and antibiotics can kill the good bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to take over.
In addition, 90% of the serotonin manufactured in our bodies is made in our gut. Serotonin plays a significant role in our mood. Declining amounts can lead to anxiety and depression. So you can see the importance of maintaining a healthy gut.
The advice is universal, but becomes even more important as we age:
- Regular exercise - even moderate exercise can be beneficial
- Consistent and adequate sleep
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fiber from fresh fruits and vegetable, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Restrict sugar intake to “occasional”
- Reduce stress, where possible
- Add supplements carefully - probiotics can help replenish the good microflora in your gut. Not all probiotics are the same. You should ask your pharmacist for recommendations.