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More Than a Gut Feeling: 6 Easy Ways to Improve Digestion as You Age

More Than a Gut Feeling: 6 Easy Ways to Improve Digestion as You Age

As most seniors are aware, aging brings a wide array of bodily changes that impact their day-to-day lives. From changes in mobility to the quality of your sleep, getting older can sometimes be a real pain in the butt – literally. Your ability to digest what you eat can change drastically as you age. Whether due to medications, a sedentary lifestyle, or even stress – aging can take a serious toll on how well your body digests food.

Maintaining good gut health is essential for a long and healthy life. While these age-related changes are a regular aspect of aging, there are steps you can take to keep your gut health in check throughout your golden years. Let’s take a look at some best practices and tips for how to improve digestion in old age. 

6 Tips for Improving Digestion as You Age


Eat Nutritious Foods that Help Digestion

Nutrition plays a large role in your body’s ability to digest. Eating a variety of nutritious foods in healthy amounts can often relieve some digestive issues and improve the overall health of your gut biome. Common foods that aid in digestion include:

  • Raw fibrous vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Fish
  • Lean meat

You should also consider avoiding or limiting foods that cause indigestion such as:

  • Overly salted foods
  • Fried foods
  • Simple carbohydrates
  • Caffeinated beverages

In addition to eating nutritious foods, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Drinking the right amount of water a day can aid in digestion and keep your bowel movements regular – avoiding the risk of constipation. If you find it difficult to remember to drink enough water a day, consider adding foods rich in water into your diet such as cucumbers, strawberries, and soup.

A healthy and balanced diet is critical to a healthy digestive tract. The foods seniors eat can help to keep certain health conditions at bay such as diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and certain cancers. Don’t know where to start when it comes to creating a meal plan? Talk with your doctor or nutrition specialist to find foods that are both healthy and delicious.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is key to an active and healthy retirement. From pickleball to short hikes, your body needs some form of physical activity to maintain health and wellness. Staying active has been shown to promote a healthier, more diverse gut biome. For as little as 30 minutes of activity a day, you can experience a healthy GI tract that helps your body fight off certain cancers, diverticulosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Not too bad for a short walk around the neighborhood.

Improve Your Sleep Habits

It may surprise you that the length and quality of your sleep could have a connection to the health of your stomach. One study on sleep and GI health found that individuals who had a longer, more restful night’s sleep had a positive correlation with gut biome health. While this topic is still being debated among researchers to determine the overall significance between quality sleep and a healthy stomach biome – getting at least 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night is still recommended as it has clear benefits for your overall health.

Consider Dietary Supplements

You may find that you are still not getting enough fiber or probiotics even with a well-crafted meal plan. While high-fiber foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts are ideal for improving digestion as you age, you may consider talking with your doctor about soluble fiber supplements to aid in improving your gut health. It’s important to note that not all fiber supplements work the same and you should work with your doctor to find one that will have a positive impact on your GI tract.

Similarly, probiotics are great at regulating and improving your gut biome. In addition to assisting with healthy digestion, studies have found that they produce substances that fight viruses and infections. There are a wide array of food and beverage options available that naturally contain probiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, and cottage cheese. Probiotic supplements are also available if you prefer.

Find Ways to Manage Stress

Have you ever felt a pain or gurgle in your stomach after an anxiety-filled day? That’s because your brain and stomach have a complex and strange connection that has a direct impact on your health. Chronic stress can trigger inflammation in your stomach which throws your gut biome out of balance – causing stomach cramps that make your stress-induced day even harder.

On top of that, stress has a spiraling effect that can lead you down a rabbit hole of overeating, poor nutrition choices, and reduced activity – upsetting your gut biome even more.

To avoid this awful cycle, seniors need the right tools to manage their stress when life throws challenges their way. Regular exercise, yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature are all ways to help relieve stress. If you frequently feel stressed and anxious, reach out to your primary care doctor. These feelings are extremely common, and you don’t have to face them alone.

Talk With Your Doctor

Any time you make a change in your lifestyle, you should consult with your primary care physician to make sure you’re on the right track. Your doctor will be able to help guide you as you make changes to your diet, activity level, sleep habits and stress management. Your doctor can also be a great resource if you find that lifestyle changes aren’t impacting your digestive health as they should – ensuring there are no underlying medical problems preventing you from achieving your goals. 

Primary Care Designed for Seniors

Getting older means getting closer to the health professionals and specialists on your care team. Whether you’re looking for guidance to improve your gut health or need someone you can rely on for all of your primary care needs, consider reaching out to SeniorSelect. 

SeniorSelect offers primary care services to seniors in Columbus, Ohio – providing a wide array of senior healthcare services in a comforting environment. Dr. Mills and our incredible team have created a holistic approach to senior care. We are committed to your wellbeing – providing quality care that goes beyond that of a traditional primary care office.  

Don’t wait to get the healthcare you deserve, schedule a tour or give us a call at 614-741-8285 to speak with one of our exceptional team members today.

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