As you get older you must start to pay more attention to your health. This is something most people know and acknowledge, but do we actually do it? In our youth, we tend to eat and drink what we like, not thinking too much about the effects on our bodies as we age. Often, we won’t see any symptoms or issues when we are young, but once we get older the effects will become more obvious. Sadly, as we age we cannot maintain the same lifestyle choices from our youth. That doesn’t mean every adult will have led an unhealthy lifestyle, some people will eat the right things they whole life, but most people tend to need to make some changes when they get older.

We often talk openly about many aspects of our health. Lots of people know about hearing loss or issues with vision as you age. Thinking about heart health and the risk of falls are also two topics people are happy to discuss, but this isn’t always the case when it comes to digestive health. For a lot of people, this area of medicine is a taboo. We don’t want to talk about it. I guess a lot of people are worried about having to discuss their toilet habits! But digestive health is one of the most important areas to think about as you age. The choices we make and the aging process can affect the digestive tract and sadly increase the risk of a digestive disorder developing, so it is an area we simply must talk about!

As you get older your digestive system will just not be as efficient as it used to be. It generally slows down and becomes weaker and stiffer, meaning new cells won’t form as quickly as they used to. Some of the common digestive problems that older people will experience include heartburn, gas, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. It doesn’t sound great right! Well, the good thing to know is that you shouldn’t simply accept these issues as a part of aging. There are doctors who can help with any existing issues and there are also things you can do to improve your own digestion.

You can improve and protect your own digestive system, by changing your habits and living a healthier lifestyle. Firstly, you should be staying hydrated and drinking a lot of water. You should also try to limit the number of fatty foods you have in your diet. Overall, you should focus on maintaining a healthy and fit body weight. Instead of eating lots of fatty foods, swap them for foods rich in fiber such as fruits like apples or bananas, dark-colored vegetables or potatoes. Not only are fiber-rich foods great for your digestion, but they are also good for your heart health too! When it comes to meals and eating generally, try to have normal and healthy portion sizes, as overeating is only going to cause you issues. When you think about meal preparation and cooking, don’t worry or stress about being as healthy as possible. You can do simple things like eating dark leafy greens or complex carbs like oats and brown rice. Try to eat lean protein and avoid refined sugars, but most importantly stay hydrated and remember to drink water. Maybe carry a refillable bottle with you everywhere you go! Finally, as well as eating well you should try and keep up a healthy lifestyle by being active. Get your exercise in by going walking, hiking, dancing or swimming.

So aside from keeping your digestive system healthy and avoiding some of the issues new have talked about, maintaining your digestive health also has other great benefits too. If you are eating well and getting the right nutrients into your body, then you won’t have any sort of nutritional deficiencies. Sometimes older people develop anemia or iron deficiency, because of deficiencies in certain nutrients in their system. Eating right and taking care of yourself will prevent this. Certain types of cancer can be kept at bay by good digestion. Both, esophageal cancer and colon cancer can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease or repeated constipation. If you instead eat lots of probiotics and keep that water intake up, you will avoid these awful diseases. As well as keeping your digestive system healthy, there are some ofter great benefits of eating high fiber foods and vegetables. If you do this, you are much less likely to develop embarrassing incontinence or flatulence issues. Nobody wants those problems! Finally, on a more practical note, if you look after yourself you will save money! Medical bills can be costly, particularly if you have digestive issues. So if you look after yourself now, then you will definitely save money in the future!