As you age, you should expect that your body is changing and that you have to change your way of living eventually. For your physical health, it’s not just the bones, joints, and muscles that are becoming weak. Frankly, you would notice that your overall health is declining, depending on your health state and history.
Many people look after their skin and posture as they age. But what about what’s inside, like your gut health? What does your gut tell you?
What Happens If You Have Poor Digestive Health
Similar to joints and muscles, your digestive system can change as well, meaning you’re going to have to look after it. Along with age, your digestive tract functions may slow down and might not work as efficiently as they used to. What happens in the digestive tract is the muscles there are becoming weaker and stiffer. If this goes further, your tissues may be damaged as well.
A dysfunctional digestive system can be one reason older people are more likely to experience heartburn, peptic ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or other gut health problems. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be more serious in seniors as well.
However, this is not to say that you shouldn’t look after your digestive health when you’re still young, and just because your digestive health is okay while you’re young, it doesn’t mean it will stay healthy as you age.
That’s why it’s important to seek help if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort regarding your digestion. It may just be visible as fatigue, food cravings, unintentional weight changes, and allergies, but these issues can have a serious connection with your gut health. It may even result from mood issues like anxiety and depression.
Gut Diversity and Inflammatory Responses
The digestive tract is full of bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. The composition of these microorganisms activates what is collectively called gut microbiota or microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a significant role in digestion and keeping the immune system healthy.
Problems with your gut microbiome can highly contribute to chronic inflammatory conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and bowel diseases.
To keep your gut microbiome balanced, you need to intake both prebiotics and probiotics. These also improve your gut microbiome diversity, which is associated with your inflammatory responses. When your gut microbiome is less diverse, it can imbalance outgrowing bacteria and potential secretion of enzymes, leading to inflammation.
Probiotics are found in fermented food products, such as cultured milk, yogurt, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, brine beverages, and fermented vegetables. These foods contain microorganisms that help improve the diversity of the microbiome. On the other hand, prebiotics is found in fiber-rich food such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods help feed the good bacteria in your stomach.
Gut Health Goes Hand in Hand With Mental Health
Studies have been found regarding the correlation between gut microbiome disturbances and mental health issues. Apparently, the gut is connected to the nerves and has something to do with transmitting messages back and forth with the brain. Many neurotransmitters, like serotonin, come from the gut. In fact, many people who suffer from anxiety and promote their diet and digestive health reported having improved anxiety symptoms.
This can be one of the causes older people are more likely to demean their mental health since aging and mental health come strongly together.
Even a Small Lifestyle Change Counts
The thought of improving your lifestyle may seem unimportant or unnecessary to some people, but a small change can go a long way. Simply adding fermented and high-fiber foods to your diet can be a lot of help. Once you carry that on consistently, you will notice changes in your body, and one day, you will feel more alive than ever.
It’s always better to start young, but it’s never too late to start improving your health when you get older. There are various exercises for people over 50, which they can easily incorporate into their daily routine.
The Bottom Line
It is never a waste of time to read more about health improvement. In fact, your digestive tract doesn’t have to be victimized by age. While age is uncontrollable, you can also protect your body with a lifestyle change. Basically, staying hydrated, limiting fat intake, avoiding over-eating, and getting regular exercise. Your exercise doesn’t even have to be extreme. As simple as daily walking can already make a huge difference over time.
It’s not that hard if you think about it. Once you have a healthy gut, everything else can fall into place.