better gut health for seniors, natural solutions for improving digestive health

Digestive health - why is it so important and how to improve it

Ageing and changing nutritional demands

Our bodies change significantly throughout the different stages of our life so our nutritional requirements should be regularly reviewed and adapted to individual needs. To sustain good health and support longevity, we must prioritise basic nutrient needs such as essential amino acids (from protein), fats (predominantly essential fatty acids), carbohydrates (with a focus on complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and healthy blood sugar levels), as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals. The amounts of nutrients needed will however differ depending on age, activity levels, chronic or acute health conditions you may be dealing with, etc. Those aged over 50 have an increased demand for nutrient-dense foods because they are at higher risk to experience reduced mobility, lower nutrient absorption rates and lower metabolic rates. Depending on various factors, they may also experience muscle loss, the onset of sarcopenia, reduced bone density, lower immunity and sleep disturbances. But that is not as worrying as you may think.

Read on to find out how an adequate diet will help you prevent or manage such problems.

 

Digestive Health and Microbiota

Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods with all your meals is key to supporting all areas of a healthy body, from good muscle mass and energy to immunity, cardiovascular and cognitive health. However, we should not overlook how efficient is our body at absorbing the nutrients in the food we eat.

The gut plays an essential role in breaking down the foods we eat into an absorbable nutrient format to build and sustain our bodies. Our gut houses a very diverse range of microbiota that, along with digestive enzymes and the digestive juice, help in the digestion process. A growing body of research has revealed a strong connection between our microbiota and the other organs in the body, which is believed to influencer our health and wellbeing. Therefore, a poor gut microbiota and its interaction with the organs and cells may affect our mood, sleep, immunity and cognitive function.

Several factors such as age, stress, genetics, exercise and nutrition can influence our microbiota. Consumption of poor diets that are high in fat and sugar are known to imbalance the microbial population in the gut, leading to a phenomenon known as "gut dysbiosis".

So, while it is quite common to experience more gut health issues such as constipation, bloating, gas, stomach aches, abdominal pain and IBS more frequently after the age of 50, these should not be ignored. They can be an indicator of poor gut health, which will not only hinder essential nutrient absorbtion but also influence your daily life if not addressed promptly.

 

How to improve your gut health - foods and supplements

Adopting a holistic approach to gut health can help maintain normal microbiota, support the digestive system and improve bowel function. This includes less exposure to stress and antibiotics as well as following a diet high in fibre and essential micronutrients, etc.

A diet high in fibre, both soluble and insoluble, supports the growth of microbiota as fibres act as prebiotics and aids the movement of food in the intestines, supporting bowel movement. Barley, oats, wheat bran, dried prunes, rye fibre and chicory inulin are some fantastic fibre sources.

As we age, many may experience a reduction in the production of gastric, pancreatic and other digestive juices, which can compromise healthy digestion. This will often reduce the absorption of vital nutrients such as Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin B12. Therefore, it is recommended that those aged 50+ prioritise the consumption of foods high in these micronutrients to make up for the reduced absorption rate.

Equally important, diets or supplements high in Calcium will help improve the normal function of the digestive enzymes, which are needed to break down our food.

 

The bottom line

A diet rich in fibre and Calcium and better stress management are essential to maintain digestive health, which in return will support optimal nutrient absorption and wellbeing for those aged over 50.

Our SuperAge Digestion blend is a perfect combination of lean plant protein, soluble fibre and prune extract. It is rich in Calcium from seaweed to support the function of digestive enzymes and enriched with 2.8 billion live cultures per serving.