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Improving Your Digestive Health

Improving Your Digestive Health

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, so we thought it would be a good time to remind you that, beyond scheduling regular screenings, you also should keep an eye on your digestive health. Since it can be linked to a number of ailments and central nervous system disorders as well as colon cancer, you should start listening to your gut more closely.

What is Gut Bacteria?

Your gut is filled with bacteria—300 to 500 different types of it. This bacteria contains nearly two million genes. Add in viruses and fungi, and you have what’s called microbiota or microbiome. No mix is the same, and just like your fingerprints, your microbiota is uniquely yours. So how is this mix created? Your mother’s microbiota, your birth environment, and your diet and lifestyle all play a role.

How Does it Link to Your Health?

Your amount of gut bacteria is believed to say a ton about your health. It controls your metabolism and how you process and breakdown certain foods. Those who live with certain diseases may have more or fewer bacteria than healthy people. Specific illnesses can often be linked to your gut bacteria. For instance, it’s believed that those with rheumatoid arthritis have higher gut bacteria than those without it.

Some other diseases and ailments thought to be linked to gut health include:

  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Colon cancer

So What Can You Do?

Having a variety of microbiota can lead to better health and possibly reduce your risk of disease.

Balanced Diet: One way to ensure this is through a steady diet of fiber-rich foods, fruits, and vegetables. This will allow your microbiotas to thrive, while a diet high in fat and sugar can kill certain types of bacterias, making them less diverse. Overuse of antibiotics and certain over-the-counter medications (OTCs) also can mess with your gut bacteria, so talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Regular Exercise: Physical activity also can encourage the growth of gut bacteria.

One of the best ways to ensure your digestive health is in check is by listening to your body. Pay attention to any sudden changes in bowel movements, and openly talk to your doctor about them. Routine colonoscopies and checkups are the best way to ensure your digestive health is never overlooked.

Constant fatigue, skin irritation, weight changes, and an upset stomach can all be signs your gut health is out of whack. Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. includes primary and specialty care physicians who can work closely with you to ensure you get back to optimal health! To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, visit our website.