GI Health Checklist

Managing some aspects of your health are more obvious than others. If you want to keep your lungs healthy, you don’t smoke or vape. If you want to improve heart health you get your minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day. But how do you improve GI health?

Promoting good gastrointestinal health isn't exactly common knowledge, so here's a GI health checklist of things you should do to promote a healthy GI tract. Click To Tweet

Identify foods that cause digestive problems.

Some can’t the handle acidity of tomatoes, while others may have issues if they drink too much coffee. Some people may be sensitive to gluten, and some can’t eat dairy without getting an upset stomach. Learn which foods cause problems, and talk to your doctor about the next step.

Avoid highly processed foods.

A diet that includes a lot of processed foods can cause some people to have digestive problems. There are also emulsifiers in certain processed foods, such as ice cream and peanut butter. Emulsifiers are used to stabilize and improve the textures of processed foods, and they may negatively affect gut flora.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Eat a nutritious diet rich in fiber from sources like whole grains and vegetables. Try to eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. Fiber can upset stomachs if you aren’t used to eating fiber, but a high fiber diet is great for our digestive systems. Gradually increase fiber in your diet to keep your stomach happy.

Exercise every day.

You need at least 30 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis. The more active you are, the greater the health benefits. Remember that you don’t have to get your minutes all at once. Every minute counts towards your daily total for physical activity.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight. This is important in promoting good GI health. Research indicates that obesity may increase a person’s risk for GI complications.

Don’t smoke.

Smoking cigarettes causes lung disease, COPD, and accounts for nearly one in five deaths in the U.S. each year. Cigarettes cause a wide range of health problems, including GI health problems.

Manage stress.

There’s an interaction between your brain and GI system, which is just one of the reasons why it’s important to properly manage your stress.

Know your risk for colon cancer.

You are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer if you have a personal history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, or chronic digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Screening recommendations are different for people at a higher risk of cancer, so be sure to talk to your doctor about your risk and screening options.

Visit your doctor regularly.

Annual wellness exams are important for your overall health, and they can help your physician detect health issues early on. But don’t hesitate to meet with your primary care doctor with any of your health questions or concerns. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist if you’re having symptoms that could indicate a digestive disorder or gastrointestinal disease.