Even though you may eat sensibly, it is no guarantee that you won’t end up with a grumpy gut. Still, there are several ways you can cut the risk of developing a disgruntled digestive tract, particularly when it comes to acid reflux (aka GERD), with the simplest being not to lie down right away after eating.
In fact, most healthcare providers recommend not eating anything within 3-4 hours before bedtime. Meanwhile, Dr. Elliot Dreznick of St. Charles Hospital, Pt. Jefferson, NY, suggests, “Using a wedge raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches to prevent gastric acids from backing up into the esophagus.
Other simple methods include.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water. While there is some dispute as to whether you really need to drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water daily, it is important to keep your body properly hydrated to ensure proper kidney function, as well as guaranteeing regular bowel movements, Not only does this flush out impurities from within, it is also good for the skin.
- Another way to ensure regular bowel movements is to get plenty of exercises. Not only does this help keep weight off, it serves to push digested food through the colon and avoid constipation. However, it is important to give your food enough time to settle before physical exertion or you could bring on gastric reflux and cramps.
- Cut out smoking and reduce alcohol consumption, drink less carbonated soft drinks eliminate fatty /fried foods and watch your intake of tomatoes and chocolate, all of which have been known to trigger acid reflux and heartburn.
- Do not overstuff yourself. Consume smaller portions and eat more frequent mini meals.
- Add more fiber to your diet such as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. These not only enhance the removal of cholesterol from your body, they can help curb the formation of painful diverticula (pouches in the wall of the large intestines believed to be caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptoms include diarrhea and belly pain (cramping), as well as rectal bleeding. Similar inflammation can also occur in the esophagus.
- While some dieticians recommend going gluten free, eliminating gluten from your diet (unless you suffer from Celiac’s disease) could put you at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Instead, try adding more probiotics into your diet. These “good” live bacteria can be found in over-the-counter supplements as well as in foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, etc. and serve to protect the body from a variety of gastrointestinal disorders including IBS and infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, and/or parasites). The most common probiotics include bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. The later may also help individuals who are lactose intolerant.
- Watch out for side effects caused by both prescription meds and over-the-counter drugs including anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxin used to treat joint pains as they can change bacteria in the gut and (potentially) lead to the formation of ulcers. If possible opt for substitute painkillers such as acetaminophen.
Note: Always check with your healthcare provider before making major changes to your diet or medicines.