Are you ready for GERD Awareness Week? November 23 – 29, 2014 is dedicated to raising awareness nationwide about gastroesophageal reflux disease, a chronic digestive disorder that causes stomach contents to back up into the esophagus, often resulting in heartburn, indigestion and/or acid reflux.
While occasional heartburn and reflux are not uncommon, GERD refers to the more serious, long-lasting disorder (more than twice a week for two weeks), which affects about 20 percent of Americans. And although anyone can develop GERD, the National Institutes of Health tell us certain groups are more likely to develop the disorder: people who smoke, are overweight or obese, pregnant or taking certain medications.
Occasional Heartburn & Reflux? Simple Tips to Follow
Many people don’t realize that occasional heartburn and reflux may be controlled through a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, which in turn may help prevent the development of GERD. Here are some simple, everyday tips to follow:
- Avoid greasy, fried foods and spicy foods
- Avoid processed foods high in refined sugars
- Avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus
- Avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages
- Avoid chocolate and caffeine
- Consume more dietary fiber
- Do not overeat or eat too quickly; chew your food well
- Try to stop eating 2 to 3 hours before sleep
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Quit smoking
To find out more about how you can get involved in your community, visit the GERD Awareness Week page on the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders website for helpful tips, resources and ideas.
Up to 80 percent of your immune system can be found in your gut, which means a properly functioning digestive system is the foundation for optimal health. Still, digestive diseases affect nearly 70 million Americans every year, resulting in more than 20 million hospitalizations and close to 250,000 deaths.i What can we do to change that?
At the heart of a healthy digestive system is a healthy colon (or large intestine). The colon is one of the seven channels of elimination and its primary function is to eliminate unwanted waste from the body. However, an unhealthy or sluggish colon can’t perform at its peak and may allow harmful toxins to build up inside the intestinal lining. This can result in a number of health problems affecting the colon and beyond. Here are 6 ways to love your colon every day:
- Colon hydrotherapy: In order for your digestive system and your whole body to function optimally, toxins that have accumulated must be purged from the system. Natural colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective way to help cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.
- Eat fermented foods:Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut help nourish the beneficial bacteria in the colon to support healthy digestive function. In addition, they provide support for the delicate intestinal barrier.
- Eat more fiber:A healthy colon requires bulk to eliminate regularly, and fiber helps provide that bulk. Aim for at least 35 grams a day from non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits. If you have trouble getting enough fiber in your diet, try adding a natural flax-based fiber supplement that provides a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Avoid fibers that could be binding, such as psyllium, as they can leave the colon dehydrated.
- Drink plenty of water: Properly hydrating the colon will promote regular peristalsis (the natural muscle contractions that move food through the intestines) and help ease elimination. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified water each day.
- Get plenty of exercise: Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation and blood flow, which in turn supports the healthy function of your colon and your entire digestive system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week.
Consider an herbal colon cleanse: A natural colon cleanse formula made with fiber, magnesium hydroxide (to help hydrate the bowel) and herbal ingredients supports the body’s natural cleansing processes and promotes regular, healthy elimination.‡