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Myth Busters: GI Edition

CCC&S Intern blog post by Andrea Kordic

Did you know?

Nearly 40% of older adults have at least one digestive problem yearly! That means you’re not alone if your guts give you the blues. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, that could include constipation, diverticulitis, GERD, and hemorrhoids, among others. This is because after age 60, the number of healthy bacteria in our gut drops, making it harder for our bodies to digest and absorb the nutrients we need.

Okay, so what?

Well, did you also know that at Christian Care Communities, we work closely with Registered Dietitians as a part of your care? These specialists include up-to-date, evidence-based practices in your gut treatments through food and nutrition. They work hard to provide individualized care and create a plan for each resident to enjoy mealtimes, eat well, and feel well. And with that research, the Registered Dietitian team has helped us debunk some of the most common myths about GI conditions and how to fix them. See how many you know!

Myth #1: I have diverticulitis and can’t eat the nuts and seeds I love so much. Busted!

New studies suggest that small-sized foods such as these do not get lodged in the pouches, or diverticula, in your intestine. These foods are higher in fiber and help prevent the risk of diverticulitis or diverticulosis. So, go ahead. Keep cracking those walnuts, sprinkling those sesames, and packing those pepitas into your salads and snacks galore.

Myth #2: I got an ulcer because I ate too much spicy food. Busted!

Researchers discovered that a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is, in fact, the major cause of peptic ulcer disease. However, factors such as consuming highly spicy or fatty foods or having high-stress levels can worsen symptoms for some. So, listen to your body and ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ as they say.

Myth #3: I’m lactose intolerant and must avoid all dairy products. Busted!

As we get older our lactase enzyme decreases, which is the one we need to digest and absorb lactose properly. The resulting lactose intolerance looks different for everyone, but most can still enjoy some dairy daily. Foods such as hard, aged cheeses or Greek yogurt are lower in lactose content and may be a good place to start. Studies have shown that adults can consume roughly 12 grams of lactose per day without showing any significant difference in stomach pain, flatulence, or diarrhea caused by lactose intolerance. Mmm, rainbow sherbet; here I come!


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