As the body ages, changes in the gastrointestinal tract occur, reducing the absorption of nutrients and slowing down intestinal motility. As a result, malabsorption, nutrient deficiency and constipation are relatively common health problems that affect elderly people of both genders.
A high-fiber diet helps to stimulate intestinal motility and prevent constipation. There is also evidence dietary fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood glucose levels. Ask your doctor about the benefits of adding more fiber to your diet.
Dietary fiber is common in plant foods such as fruits, vegetable and legumes. Although dietary fiber cannot be digested or absorbed, it still contributes to health in a variety of ways. Dietary fiber comes in two types: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes gel-like, causing it to stick to bile, toxins and other debris and drag them from your body. Insoluble fiber attracts water like a sponge and acts to clean your intestines, increase intestinal motility and stimulate regular bowel movements. Constipation is more common in the elderly due to reduced intestinal peristalsis or rhythmic contractions, inactive lifestyles and diets low in fiber.
As previously discussed, with age, the body begins to change, especially the digestive system, where it’s normal function slows down, requiring additional care to optimize health. Fiber is an essential part of our diet, and for seniors, an intake of the proper amount of fiber can ensure the digestive system is functioning to its fullest. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.