NVCC Food Habits and Digestiv

Food Habits and Digestive Problems

Digestion transforms the foods we eat into nutrients, and absorption moves nutrients from the GI tract into the blood. Optimal digestion and absorption depend on the good health of the digestive tract, which is affected by such lifestyle factors as sleep, physical activity, state of mind, and the meals you eat.

One common digestive tract complaint is heartburn. Consider the following information, and then answer the questions that follow.

Heartburn: How to Deal with It?!

Other names:Acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

What is it?Splashing of acidic stomach contents back into the esophagus, which can irritate the delicate lining of the esophagus and cause a burning pain between the throat and chest. It can cause a cough, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or bad breath in some people.

What causes it?The sphincter between the stomach and esophagus can loosen and allow stomach contents to leak upward into the esophagus.

Some peoples’ stomachs produce too much acid, which can also splash up into the esophagus. Triggers like stress, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, chocolate, greasy foods, or spicy foods can cause symptoms in some people but not the same triggers bother everyone.

What happens if it is left untreated?The cells of the esophagus can undergo some changes due to the chronic irritation of long-term, untreated GERD. In a small percentage of people, these abnormal cells may become cancerous.

Lifestyle Options for Heartburn

Sit up after eating so that the stomach contents cannot leak back into the esophagus.

Lose excess weight, which may be associated with a looser esophageal sphincter.

Find out what foods trigger pain. Eliminate one food at a time and note if symptoms become less frequent or severe.

Eat smaller meals, which may not expand the stomach as much.

Wear looser clothing that will not squeeze the stomach.

Quit smoking. Smoking may trigger the stomach to secrete more acid or weaken the esophageal sphincter.

Questions

1.Identify which of these foods and food habits promote or impede healthy digestion and absorption.

Foods and Food Habits

Promote

Impede

a.Take small bites of food.

b.Chew thoroughly before swallowing.

c.Exercise immediately after eating to prevent weight gain.

d.Eat a low-fiber diet.

e.Drink plenty of fluids.

f.Eat a few large meals instead of several smaller ones.

g.Eat quickly and then lie down to rest.

h.Create a meal using citrus fruits and meat.

i.Tackle family problems at the dinner table.

2.Do you experience digestive distress regularly?

3.What changes can you make in your eating habits to promote digestive health?

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