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Diet and Gastrointestinal Health

Elderly couple eating breakfast togetherPoor diet can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract – the system made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and anus. In general, the GI tract can handle a lot of stress placed on it by poor diet, but over a long period of time negative effects will begin to accumulate and affect the health of the system. For example, diets low in fiber can contribute to the development of the following conditions:

Drinking alcohol can contribute to the following conditions:

For many disorders of the GI tract, altering diet can affect symptoms and is often the primary treatment employed to help patients find relief. For example, most people with celiac disease find significant symptom improvement by following a gluten-free diet. For those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) eating smaller portions more often throughout the day instead of two of three large meals can help symptoms. And in patients with pancreatitis, the treatment is usually hydration and nutritional support.