Nutrition and Common Digestive Disorders:
This article outlines how changes in your eating habits can help certain gastrointestinal complaints. A word of caution though, no matter how simple a complaint may seem, always make any change in consultation with your doctor.
1. Avoid eating large amounts of food at a time.
2. Elevate the head in bed while sleeping.
3. Do not eat for 2 - 3 hours before bedtime.
4. Avoid coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol, chocolate and peppermint.
5. Avoid high fat food and smoking.
6. Maintain ideal body weight.
1. Eat three well balanced meals per day and avoid bedtime snacking.
2. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, decaffeinated coffee and smoking.
3. Limit as much as possible any foods or spices known to cause you discomfort.
Fiber may help these symptoms because with increased fecal bulk and absorption of water, softer, more frequent formed bowel movements results. Fiber rich foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals. The 1990 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a daily intake of:
1. Three or more servings of vegetables, including dried peas and beans. Good choices include chick peas, broccoli, carrots, and eggplant.
2. Two or more servings of fruits. For example, apples, pears, nectarines, and raspberries.
3. Six servings of whole grain breads, cereals, rice or pasta.
Again do not assume that you have any condition, as symptoms of different conditions overlap. These conditions must be diagnosed by your physician.
The diet needs to be individualized based on each patient's food tolerances. During and after acute phases of the disease, doctors usually recommend a low residue diet. A low residue diet may also be used during and after acute episodes of diverticulitis and after gastrointestinal surgery. This gradually advances to a regular diet based on each patients' condition. Guidelines for a low residue diet include:
1. Limit milk products to two cups /day.
2. Limit fruits to juice (except prune), bananas and canned fruit.
3. Limit vegetables to juice and soft, cooked vegetables.
4. Avoid nuts, seeds, dried beans and peas.
Achieving and maintaining ideal or desirable body weight may help to improve many digestive complaints. A registered dietitian can help guide you in achieving your goals. The Kroh Center for Digestive Disorders provides expert dietary services for patients with gastrointestinal complaints.