Tag Archives: health

The latest in digestive health news

Image result for digestive health graphicSo much is happening in the world of digestive health. Clinical trials and research are revealing new trends and treatments all the time; fundraisers are happening across the country; more people are learning about the risks and working to prevent colon cancer.

Here are a few interesting things happening in the digestive health world this week.

Michigan Fundraiser – Golf Fore Guts Silent Auction

If golfing isn’t your thing, you can still support this Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation initiative through their silent auction. You’ll find all sorts of signed sports memorabilia and even an in-home wine tasting for 12 of your favorite people.

“The 5th Annual Golf Fore Guts silent auction is open! Bidding will close at 5pm on Sunday, August 13th. You do not have to be present to win. Click the link below to see the list of silent auction items like a Miguel Cabrera signed baseball and TaylorMade golf drivers. To register click the Sign In button on the website or text fore17 to 24700. Happy Bidding!”

Dating with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford shares with The Mighty her and many others’ struggle to date with various forms of IBD – something that folks with healthy guts might not even think of. As if dating isn’t difficult enough, having the added pressure of numerous bathroom trips, frequent fatigue, or wearing an ostomy can create some obstacles that make dating seem unworthy.

“It is small things like this that could affect even the early on stages of dating that I like to get off my chest sooner rather than later. That way, it will soon become clear apparent whether there is any compatibility. These may be small things, but they occur regularly and could present a problem in terms of the outlook for the relationship.”

Read the rest of her heartfelt, honest, and eye-opening blog on The Mighty.

Colon Cancer Rates Rising in Younger White Folks

In the United States, the black population has faced historically higher rates of colon cancer than any other ethnic group. However, the recent rates of colon cancer have increased in the white population – especially in those under 50. This presents a problem since most doctors agree that screening for colon cancer and other digestive issues isn’t necessary until the age of 50 for most. Those with a family history of the disease are encouraged to get screened earlier, but if you’re not aware of your history, you’re at a higher risk.

” The number of whites being diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their mortality rates are rising, even as blacks are seeing a decline in both categories,” says Kaiser Health News. “Despite those declines, however, blacks still have higher rates of death from the disease.”

So while the community is rallying to make sure people are taking as many preventive measures as possible, it might be time to look at the age in which we’re doing so.

The best way to protect yourself is to learn your family history, get to the doctor, and to be open to as many preventive methods as possible.

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Heartburn and age: It really does get worse

Image result for heartburnGetting older has its perks, like learning life’s lessons, knowing what you want (and how to get it), and feeling comfortable in your own skin. That is, unless you suffer from heartburn.

Studies have shown the irritating truth that this esophageal irritation gets more intense as you age.

“First, the sphincter on top of your stomach, which opens to allow things you swallow to go into your stomach, tends to relax a bit more with time,” says Self.

That’s a medical way to say that even your internal muscles can’t fight Father Time. When that flap doesn’t open or close as quickly, stomach acid can creep back up and cause your esophagus to burn.

Another cause for more heartburn as you age is that your stomach doesn’t digest your food as quickly. And when your food sticks around longer, there are more chances for problems. Couple that with a slight weight gain that a lot of folks experience later in life, and your stomach acid has the perfect storm for irritating your esophagus.

Most folks experience heartburn from all the usual culprits: Fatty foods, sugar, peppermint, booze (basically anything fun). If that’s the case for you, limiting your intake along with using an over-the-counter heartburn med should probably take care of the problem.

However, if you have more severe problem that happens more frequently or doesn’t have a food trigger, you should definitely let your doctor know. With frequent heartburn comes a higher risk for esophageal cancer because of the acid wearing away at your throat. A stronger medication or more stringent course of action might be necessary, but your doctor can help you figure out what you should do.

“Heartburn is one of many possible symptoms of GERD. GERD means reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus,” says our very own Dr. Anezi Bakken.

She walked us through the symptoms and risks associated with heart burn the last time we sat down with her. She also told us how there comes a point when your heartburn could be something more serious. GERD typically shows more severe symptoms, such as nausea, sore throat, difficulty swallowing and even a cough. “Just” heartburn can turn into a more severe condition.

What else can you do?

Stop smoking, lose weight and drink lots of water – pretty much the standard prescription for getting any condition under control.

You can also use some food-tracking apps to monitor which foods are the worst for your gut. And gum and baking soda are a couple of home remedies that work for some people.

Talk to your doctor regarding any stomach discomfort to keep things in check and to avoid a more serious condition from developing.

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More common foods to help your tummy

Image result for healthy foodsOne of the most effective ways to improve your digestion is through food. We all know that, but
it can be difficult to make those decisions when life is so busy. But there are so many common foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet that’ll help improve your digestion.

Bustle recently gave us another list less-obvious tummy helpers that you can add to your grocery list. We’ve got some suggestions on how to do just that.

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt can help with digestion, and Greek yogurt is an easy add to your normal menu. Stick to plain, since the flavored tends to have more sugar.

  • Add low-sugar granola or cereal with fresh fruit for breakfast.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream at your next Mexican night. Stir in lemon juice, salt and fresh cilantro to kick up the flavor.
  • Mix in Dijon and yellow mustards and your favorite pepper, then spread it on a sandwich with turkey breast and avocado.

Onions and Garlic

These favorite flavor boosters are also great for your immune system and digestion. If you don’t like the raw flavor – it’s strong! – sauteing these bulbs makes them a sweet addition to just about anything.

  • Slow cook diced onions in a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Put these into meatballs, chili, or a cold bean salad.
  • Add garlic into the sauteed onions at the end until it just cooks through for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Thinly slice red onions and toss with romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, and your favorite dressing.

Black Beans

These nutritious powerhouses are super versatile. (You can even make brownies out of them!) And they’re easy enough to add into a quick meal.

  • Mix a can of black beans with diced bell pepper, avocado, onion and fresh cilantro. Add a dash of salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper or hot sauce for an easy lunch.
  • Make a pot of no-chop chili (beef or turkey, seasonings and salsa – promise it’s easy), and add black beans at the end.
  • If you make eggs in the morning, add black beans and salsa for a southwestern kick.

Bananas

These ready-made snacks are perfect to add to your daily routine, and if you don’t have time to prepare them, bring them along for your mid-morning munchies.

  • Dice up some bananas to add to your oatmeal, and put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top for extra protein and digestive powers.
  • Make a fruit salad, even in the winter. Thaw your favorite frozen berries, add slices of banana, some cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh lemon juice.
  • Whip up two-ingredient banana pancakes and smear on some peanut or almond butter for a super-satisfying breakfast.

Want more? Check out the other surprisingly common foods that can help with your tummy.

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Three simple moves to improve digestion

We all know that exercise helps with a lot of things: circulation, weight management, mood. But exercise also helps with digestion.

According to WebMD, exercise “helps to stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles. Intestinal muscles that contract efficiently help move stools out quickly.” So when you move, your guts move, which helps keep everything regular.

But since it’s not always easy to get moving, we came up with three simple moves you can do just about anywhere that’ll still have a positive impact on your tummy.

Breathe

nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathingIt sounds simple, but breathing with intent can make a big difference in your digestive health. Take a few moments to sit up straight, and breathe slowly in and out, all the way to the top of your breath.

“Studies have…shown that breathing exercises that strengthen the diaphragm muscles may prevent reflux,” says gastroenterologist Ian Harnik, MD, to Everyday Health.

You can work your breathing into your regular schedule. If you set an alarm throughout the day to drink water or go for a walk, set aside two or three minutes for deep breathing. Or after you finish your lunch, take five deep breaths before heading back to work.

Spinal Twist

yoga_reclining_spinal_twist-20110214-214137This classic yoga pose is really easy on your joints while being great for your gut. And, you do it while laying down (we love that kind of exercise!).

You put your knees to one side while turning your head the opposite way. That twists and stretches your intestines, which can help get things moving.

Health.com explains:

Lie down, hug your knees and inhale. As you exhale, drop your knees to the left, using your left hand to push them down gently. Then, turn your head and stretch your arm out to the right. Stay for five to ten breaths. Inhale, and return your hands and knees to center. Repeat on the other side.

Take a Walk

550063581f2f5-office-workout-walking-s3One of the best ways to help your food digest is to go for a walk after you eat. Nothing crazy or strenuous, just ten to 20 minutes of moving can keep your meal moving the way it should. A walk after your meal can also help improve your blood sugar.

“Researchers say that a post-meal stroll helps clear glucose from the bloodstream in part because more of it is taken up by the muscles,” says the New York Times.

Good digestion and lower blood sugar sounds like a win-win to us.

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Take back your 2015! Dedicate yourself to your New Year’s resolution

It's easy to brush off your resolution once February hits. Don't let it!

It’s never too late to get back to your New Year’s resolution.

The only thing more cliche than a New Year’s resolution is one that you don’t follow much past January. But don’t fret just yet. If you got off track, you’re only about a month into your resolution. Which means that time is on your side for 2015.

Back to smoking?

The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 70% of smokers want to quit. Yet it’s one of the most difficult habits to kick. QuitSmoking.com thinks “that most people just don’t know how to go about quitting.”

Here’s some of their best advice.

1. Believe that you have it in you to quit.

“Believing you can quit is so important because your belief will guide everything you do in your attempt to quit. The way you think, the research you do, the steps you take, the people you talk to, the help you seek—all these will be influenced by the belief you have in your ability to give up cigarettes.”

2. Set a date – and don’t go cold turkey!

“Quitting on a specific date is preferable to slowly reducing the number of cigarettes that you smoke. By going “cold turkey” you won’t have to keep track of how many cigarettes you smoked yesterday and how many you will smoke today. You will also remove the temptation to cheat and smoke too many.”

3. Don’t quit quitting!

“Many smokers who have successfully given up cigarettes have made several attempts to quit before they finally kicked the habit. You should know going in that quitting may be a lengthy, or even life-long, process.”

Off your diet plan?

Food is arguably one of the most difficult habits to quit. You have to have it to live, so you can’t just walk away from it. Plus bad food is so accessible and much easier to prepare than whole foods. That’s why so many people struggle with overeating and weight problems.

But like smoking, you shouldn’t throw in the towel just because you fell off the wagon (so many adages!). And also like smoking, eating right has to be a lifelong commitment. You will always need to eat; doing so properly in the age of convenience food is what’s difficult.

“If you want to improve on something, you need to track your progress, and the behaviors that cause progress,” says Evidence Mag. To improve health or lose weight, it’s vital that you understand your current behaviors. Sure, we hear, “lose weight and eat more vegetables” from every healthy lifestyle source. But shouldn’t you have more success if you understand why you eat, when you eat, and why you eat what you eat?

Tracking your food isn’t the end-all of weight loss, but it’s one of the most effective methods. When you put what you eat in words, you hold yourself accountable. That one bite of chocolate is a secret if no one sees it. When you put it on paper, it becomes real.

Weight Watchers is perhaps the most famous of all tracking programs. It also gives you point values for your food and a limit of the number you can eat each day. My Fitness Pal is another site that works to help you understand and track your food and exercise.

Feeling defeated?

Regardless of your resolution – saving more, learning something new, watching less TV – it’s never too late to hop back to it. It’s also important to remember that you’re not the only person who has faced this. There are support groups for everything, even online ones. It’s so helpful to recognize that you’re going to have setbacks, there are other people who have too, and that the only way you lose is if you quit trying.

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