Know Your GI Health Risks
When it comes to digestive health, conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases and diverticulitis can alter your lifestyle dramatically. You can stay a step ahead of those potential problems by understanding your risk factors and taking steps to reduce them.
Risk factors are characteristics or attributes that may increase the likelihood that you will develop a certain disease. There are risk factors for many diseases. While you cannot control things such as age and family history, there are a few red flags for digestive disorders you can monitor:
- Diet: People with diets that are high in fat and low in fiber are at heightened risk for digestive health issues, including colon cancer. When possible, opt for fresh fruits, veggies or other foods that are high in fiber, as these foods bulk waste up and keep the digestive tract flowing.
- Exercise habits: You’ve heard it before, but exercise does the digestive system good, helping to move things along and prevent constipation. Just 30 minutes a day can help keep your gut working correctly.
- Smoking: Every time you light up, you increase your risk of heartburn, peptic ulcers, crohn’s disease, colon cancer and a slew of other gastrointestinal disorders. In short: the best time to quit smoking is now.
- Stress: Feeling stressed isn’t just an emotional burden; it can have an effect on your physical health too, including digestion, and it may trigger IBS flare-ups. Take steps to stay relaxed when stressful situations arise – take deep breaths, listen to your favorite music or just go for a walk.