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Why Digestive Health Is Crucial for Older Adults

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The gastrointestinal system is vital for retrieving the nutrients needed to keep other body systems functioning at optimal levels. As adults get older, the digestive system undergoes changes that may lead to different health conditions. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising are all important for keeping the gastrointestinal tract in the best condition possible. Here are a few reasons maintaining digestive health is vital for aging adults.

Promotes Nutritional Absorption

The digestive process begins in the mouth when enzymes in saliva break down starch into smaller molecules. The bolus then passes through the esophagus and into the upper stomach region. Little by little, the food makes its way into the lower stomach where enzymes and stomach acid break it down into liquid. As the processed food moves into the intestine, bile and enzymes break down fats. The nutrients are then absorbed through the intestinal wall and carried by the blood to all body cells. The gastrointestinal tract then detoxifies harmful substances and expels nonessential waste products. 

Seniors who need help maintaining their health should consider professional in-home care. Families shouldn’t have to worry about finding reliable home care providers. Naples Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of elderly home care. We offer a proprietary program called the Balanced Care Method, which uses holistic methods to promote senior health, our caregivers and Care Managers are available 24/7, and all of our in-home care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Boosts Immune System Health 

Researchers estimate that approximately 70 percent of the body’s natural immunity comes from the digestive system. If the gastrointestinal system is not healthy, the immune system becomes compromised, which may lead to the development of autoimmune disorders, microbial imbalances, and a greater susceptibility to cold and the flu. A weak immune system also makes the body susceptible to allergies and cancers. 

Stabilizes Mood

The lining of the gastrointestinal tract contains hundreds of millions of neurons, and the network is referred to as the enteric nervous system. The neurological system is so complicated and influential that researchers have named it “the second brain.” Along with being responsible for digestion, the network is in constant communication with the brain. A study published in a 2015 article in the journal Cell explained that up to 90 percent of the neurotransmitter serotonin is created in the gastrointestinal tract. When the gastric neuronal system fails to function properly, insufficient levels of serotonin are formed, which leads to mental health issues. 

Digestive disorders can impact your loved one’s overall quality of life. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated home care agency. Naples Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Prevents Microbial Imbalance in the Body

The gastrointestinal tract contains approximately three pounds of healthy bacteria that are responsible for creating the chemicals needed for digestion. The microbes also produce vitamins, eliminate toxins, regulate hormones, and support the immune system. If the microbial ecosystem becomes imbalanced, many different issues may arise, including digestive disorders. However, when the wrong bacteria, yeast, or parasites invade the system, dysbiosis occurs. The foreign bacteria damage the protective mucous layer throughout the tract, causing inflammation and irritation. In addition to preventing nutrient absorption, dysbiosis causes miscommunication between the enteric nervous system and the central nervous system, which may lead to mood changes and cognitive impairment.

Older adults can boost their digestive health by making healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising and eating nutritious meals. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a Naples caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more. Call us at (239) 449-4701 to hire a professional caregiver for your aging loved one.