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  3. Introduction

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 90 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders. From upset stomachs and heartburn to life-threatening cancers of the esophagus, liver, pancreas, and colon, digestive health problems account for as many as 35 million doctors’ office visits a year.

Poor digestion can result in more than a stomachache or gas. Digestion is the machine that powers the body—converting food into a usable form of energy that is used in turn to create health and vitality. When that process doesn’t go smoothly, the effects can be devastating. Digestive health problems can range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain. Chronic diarrhea or constipation can be debilitating and isolating.

Asthma, arthritis, allergies, and even cancer are all directly related to our digestive system health. What you feed your children and what you make for dinner can have a significant impact on long-term health. The good news is that the power is in your hands to make changes. Your digestive health is impacted by what you buy, by how you cook, by the chemicals you ingest, and by the way you move, sleep, work, and play.

Even people who maintain a healthy lifestyle get sick. There are no guarantees, but the choices you make can reduce your chances of digestive health problems. Plus, you can learn how to catch problems early enough to be treated. Only half of adults who should be screened for colon cancer have been screened. Why? Almost everyone has heard horror stories about how painful the test can be and how miserable it is to prepare for. The truth is, knowing exactly what to expect can help, and this book has all the information and encouragement you need to make that appointment you’ve been postponing.

To make matters more difficult, it isn’t easy to discuss digestive health, even with physicians. Patients are often too embarrassed to acknowledge their concerns, and may suffer silently while experiencing daily abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, and even incontinence. While this book doesn’t replace the advice of a physician, readers can begin to take appropriate steps to make changes in their lifestyle and diet, and in the habits that are adversely affecting their health.

The book provides helpful tools so readers can assess their digestive health, keep a symptom diary, know when and how to find a gastroenterologist, and even tips on how to prepare for GI testing. Part of what makes this book so user friendly, and what’s missing from other digestive health books, is the inclusion of 100 recipes. Parents learn their children need a high-fiber diet, and they are given a batch of kid-friendly, high-fiber recipes to get them started. When readers learn about the affects of caffeine on digestive health, they may decide to kick the habit, and having a handful of energy-boosting recipes will help make this is a book they turn to again and again.

It is possible to make changes in diet and lifestyle that can significantly improve indigestion, gas, bloating, and constipation. Feeling uncomfortable after eating, or having to plan outings with restrooms in mind, is not normal for our bodies. Sometimes, we have felt so bad for so long that we have forgotten what is was like to feel good.

It isn’t too late to make changes. Whether you are retired or a new parent, the choices you make today will affect how you feel tomorrow and next month. Protecting your digestive health is important. It just might save your life.

  1. Home
  2. Digestive Health
  3. Introduction
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