Posted by: Center for Digestive Health in Prevention

While most people get their first colonoscopy at age 50, there’s no need to wait that long to start practicing digestive care.

In fact, we highly recommend that you start today, as your digestive system’s health is closely linked to your overall health.

After all, your digestive system breaks down food and delivers nutrients to your other systems to keep everything working effectively. When every system in your body has the nutrients it needs, your body is better able to fight off bacteria, viruses and fungi.

An unhealthy digestive system does the opposite; poor digestion can cause gastrointestinal disorders that lead to heart disease, colon cancer and a range of other health issues.

So, pour yourself a bowl of high-fiber cereal and check out this list of digestive care tips. Let’s do some preventive maintenance and keep those digestion-related issues at bay.

5 helpful tips for preventive digestive care

Here are some ways to care for your digestive system at any age:

  • Maintain a healthy diet — By “healthy,” we mean eating lots of raw vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts/beans. Be careful about eating too much of the other stuff (sweets, high-fat meats, etc.), as your body can have a tough time breaking it down.
  • Take probiotic supplements — We tend to think of bacteria as bad, but some of the bacteria living in your gastrointestinal tract aids in crucial functions like breaking down food and maintaining our immune system. Probiotics (and some yogurts) help to fill your GI tract with this good bacteria.
  • Exercise regularly — Walking for just a half-hour every other day can improve your bowel function and speed up digestive processing.
  • Stay hydrated — The National Academy of Medicine recommends you drink 9 to 13 cups of water a day anyway, but this is particularly important if you’re concerned about your digestive system. Water helps to keep waste moving, which is crucial for GI health.
  • Manage your stress — Psychological stress is closely linked to gastrointestinal issues, especially constipation. Take some time to destress every week, and call a therapist if you feel your anxiety is out of control.

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip to keep in mind as you start thinking about digestive care:

Colon cancer screening starts at age 45

There’s no need to wait until you’re a half-century old to get your first colon exam. Scheduling one earlier (CDC recommends age 45) gives doctors the opportunity to identify any problems or risks before they worsen.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.