By| Published: July 28th, 2016
Our digestive process becomes slow, as we grow older. Though this is normal, the changes are often so subtle that we may not notice them. However, some problems can occur.
- The stomach becomes less elastic and cannot hold much food
- Digested food moves more slowly through the intestines
- The small intestine absorbs lesser amounts of certain nutrients like vitamin D, B12 and folic acid
- The flow of secretions from the stomach, liver, pancreas and small intestine may decrease
- Liver becomes smaller and the enzymes it produces may work les effectively
- The effects of medications last longer as the body takes time to get rid of them
- Constipation, heartburn and lactose intolerance become common complaints
What we can do
High fibre and nutritious diet
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Ensure that you are getting the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. Aim for 25-30 grams of fibre each day.
Plenty of fluids
Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid daily. This can help prevent digestive problems. Water is the best.
Exercise promotes bowel movement and regularity
Lactase tablets or drops before eating dairy products can help reduce abdominal pain and bloating (lactose intolerance).
Delaying bowel movements contributes to constipation. Go to the bathroom as soon as you need to.
Avoid Commercial Laxatives
Consider a fibre supplement instead of using laxatives. Over time, they can aggravate or cause chronic constipation.
Eat Small and Frequent Meals
Alcohol, fatty foods, carbonated or caffeinated beverages can cause heartburn. Avoid over the counter antacids because they can cause diarrhoea or constipation. Take acid-blocking medicines. Do not eat right before you lie down or go to bed.
Most digestive problems can be prevented or relieved with a healthy diet, exercise and other steps.