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Gut Health: How to Keep Your Gastrointestinal Tract Healthy

Gut Health: How to Keep Your Gastrointestinal Tract Healthy

Think about a time in your life when you felt ill in your stomach. You know the drill: maybe you felt queasy and light-headed or maybe you had issues going to the bathroom. No matter how you felt, you can definitely identify with the universal experience of an upset stomach, or gastrointestinal dysfunction. 

Though it’s so commonly endured, what you may not realize is that gastrointestinal issues can range from the uncomfortable and inconvenient bout of diarrhea to serious and life-changing diseases, such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. 

Because of this, it’s vital to stay on top of your gastrointestinal health. One of the best ways to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses is to increase your intake of clinically-studied ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, and tart cherry fruit, in your diet. I hope to help you better understand some effective ways you can better increase your gastrointestinal health.

Upgraid is an easy way to reduce chances of GI disease/cancer and diminish your experiences with gastrointestinal problems. If disease is already present, Upgraid could help minimize discomfort and inflammation for increased gut health. Because of the important role your gastrointestinal tract can play in your well-being, it's important to look at all organic measures for helping it stay healthy.

Before we talk about getting healthy, though, let’s first take a look at what the gastrointestinal tract is and some ways it can experience dysfunctions in the first place. From there, we’ll talk about how to better prevent and overcome those gastrointestinal issues.

What is the Gastrointestinal Tract?

The term gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract, may sound unfamiliar to you, but I assure you that the body parts it includes are very familiar systems. Your GI tract is a long, hollow tube-like organ that is internally lined with muscles. The tract runs from your mouth to your anus and connects a variety of other internal organs, such as your esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon, and rectum. This very important organ can also be referred to as your digestive tract, and will occasionally be referred to as such throughout this article.

The first thing to understand about your GI tract is that it’s how nutrients from food gets absorbed and introduced into your body. This is done through a process referred to as peristalsis. 

Peristalsis began when you bit into your breakfast this morning and swallowed, your food traveled down your throat and into your digestive tract. The layer of muscles lining the tract expand and contract, moving food through your stomach and to the organs which would further break it down and convert it into essential vitamins, minerals, and energy for the rest of your body. 

Stop and think about that. Every vitamin and nutrient you put into your body is able to arrive at its proper and most useful destination through the GI tract. Because it’s your food’s main highway throughout your body, it’s essential to keep it safe from harm. With that said, let’s take a look at some ways your GI tract can experience dysfunction which could possibly lead to gastrointestinal disease.

What is Gastrointestinal Disease?

There are a number of serious diseases which can inflict your GI tract. The symptoms and treatment options for each disease vary, but one thing they have in common is the underlying truth that, if left unchecked, these diseases can cause serious damage to your body and necessitate the need for surgery. Here, we’ll walk through a list of some of the most common GI diseases, their symptoms, and treatment options. 

  • Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune disorder which prevents a person from safely eating anything which contains gluten. If someone with this disease does eat gluten, even in small amounts, the immune system responds by attacking the small intestine, causing it serious harm over time. Symptoms can include stomach bloating, changes in bowel movements (such as diarrhea or constipation), rashes, and unusual weight loss. Because the only known treatment is adhering to a strict gluten-free diet, it’s imperative the someone living with celiac disease care for their vulnerable and damaged GI tract by supplying it with necessary vitamins and minerals.
  • Crohn’s Disease is a chronic bowel disease which causes inflammation in the GI tract. The area of inflammation can occur anywhere between the mouth and the anus and varies among those living with Crohn’s. The exact cause of the disease is still unknown, but is more common is Western nations and tends to run in families. Symptoms of the disease can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and blood or mucus in feces.
  • Diverticular Disease is a condition that causes “bulges,” or sacs (called diverticula) to occur in the bowel. Diverticula can become inflamed when perforated, such as when undigested food gets trapped within them. The resulting inflammation can cause pain, constipation, fever, nausea, or rectal bleeding. Most medical experts believe that the best way to prevent diverticular disease is through eating well, particularly high-fiber foods.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is also known as heartburn or acid reflux. In a healthy body, a tight ring of muscles act as a door to the stomach, opening to let food into the stomach from the esophagus and closing tightly after the food enters to ensure that digestive acids stay in the stomach. However, when a person has GERD, that ring of muscles is too weak to completely close, allowing a backflow of stomach acids and partly digested food into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD can be esophageal irritation, regurgitation, heartburn, chest pain and nausea. Common ways to treat the condition include antacids, H2 blockers, or Proton Pump Inhibitors. If left untreated, GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
  • Ulcerative colitis is a disease which is symptomatically similar to Crohn’s disease, but causes inflammation, and sometimes the formation of ulcers, exclusively in the colon. Its symptoms include diarrhea, mucus-filled or bloody stools, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, exhaustion, and loss of appetite. While its exact causes are not yet known, medical studies suggest that diet and stress have a significant impact on the severity of the condition. Treatments such as corticosteroids and antidiarrheal agents may also be necessary.

If you suspect you may have one of these diseases, you should consult a gastroenterologist right away. A gastroenterologist specializes in gut health and is qualified to give you a proper diagnosis and help you formulate some long-term treatment options. With that said, it’s also important to remember that many gastrointestinal diseases are not completely understood and many have unknown causes. For that reason, it’s critical to remember that while working with your doctor, you must do your part to keep your GI tract safe and healthy, particularly by maintaining a gut-healthy diet.

Upgraid makes it easier to do that by offering a powerful nutritional supplement of ginger, turmeric, and tart cherry - three ingredients scientifically proven to be fantastic for the digestive and gastrointestinal systems.  

Gut offenders leading to gut inflammation and symptoms. Natural ingredients supporting the gut that calm symptoms

Before I explain in greater detail exactly why these ingredients are so important for gastrointestinal health, it’s important to point out that not everyone who suffers from symptoms listed above will have a diagnosable disease. So let’s take a look at how those without a particular disease can experience gastrointestinal dysfunction.

Common Stomach Problems

A few years ago, a medical survey reported that 74% of Americans are living with gastrointestinal dysfunction. What’s worse, the survey found, is that most of those affected mistakenly think it’s unavoidable and live unnecessary discomfort. This is horrifying! Let’s ensure that you don’t fall into this group, by examining some of the more common ways our gastrointestinal tracts can suffer. 

  • Diarrhea is a horribly inconvenient and uncomfortable experience that involves frequent and watery stools, abdominal pain or cramping, and occasional nausea or vomiting. Diarrhea usually only lasts a few days and can usually be treated by drinking lots of fluids and eating things like crackers or toast while symptoms last. Usually, diarrhea is the cause of poor diet, though viruses and bacteria can sometimes be the culprits as well. However, if you find that you are frequently experiencing diarrhea, it may be due to a much more serious condition such as Celiac or Crohn’s disease.
    • Rectal bleeding is a term used to describe any bleeding that occurs in the rectum (lower part of the large intestine) or the colon. Rectal bleeding usually shows up as bright red (sometimes maroon) blood in stools, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl. It can be caused by anal fissures (tears in the anal canal lining), constipation, or serious diseases such as Crohn’s or various forms of anal or rectal cancer.
      • Abdominal pain, or stomach pain, can occur for a host of reasons, ranging from the benign to the dire. For that reason, it’s critical to pay close attention to the characteristics of your abdominal pain. For instance, what kind of pain you’re experiencing (is it sharp? Steady? Pulsing?), where in your stomach it’s occurring, and how long it’s lasting. If your pain is long-lasting or frequent, be sure to contact a doctor.
        • Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea, as it’s characterized by hard, dry stools that are difficult and sometimes painful to pass. Infrequent bowel movements (usually three or less times a week) and stomach bloating may also be the result of constipation. The causes of constipation can vary, such as dehydration, low fiber intake, inactivity, and certain medications (such as antidepressants, iron supplements, or opioids). Natural laxatives, such as high fiber fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements can be an excellent way to help relieve constipation.
          • Hemorrhoids are swollen anal veins - similar in nature to varicose veins - and can develop internally (in the rectum) or externally (on the skin around the anal opening). During a bowel movement, these swollen veins can often be strained to the point of bleeding, sometimes resulting in bright red blood spots on your toilet paper. Generally, hemorrhoids are painless and not cause for any alarm. However, they can become irritated over time and can cause immense discomfort when experiencing constipation. Eating a diet rich in fiber can help ensure your stools pass easily without irritating any hemorrhoids.
            • Lactose intolerance is a condition which prevents sufficient production of the enzyme lactase. Due to this insufficiency, the stomach is unable to properly digest lactose, which is a sugar found in milk. This condition is often brought on by gut damage (often due to improper diet) or diseases such as Celiac and Crohn’s. Symptoms of this condition include stomach bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea shortly after an intake of lactose.

              Gastrointestinal diseases may be caused by the following: 

              • Untreated infections - make sure not to eat raw or contaminated food. 
              • Poor diet - food that is low in nutrients is bad for you. 
              • Genetic predispositions - some people are simply more predisposed to digestive problems than others.

              Remember that gastrointestinal diseases are caused by imbalances, a fact which can only underscore the dire importance of keeping your diet healthy. Some other body systems play a role in your intestinal health, such as the endocrine system, the lymphatic system, and the digestive system. More simply put, all of these systems work in harmony to keep your body clean and healthy. 

              How to Maintain a Healthy Gut

              Your gut can be healed by healthier eating. While the occasional upset stomach is inevitable, there are some solutions to address the effects of gastrointestinal malfunction and making your health more manageable. Upgraid makes this easy by providing you a dietary supplement composed of ingredients that are incredibly beneficial to your gut’s health.

              Tart Cherry has been proven to have a host of benefits for your body. It’s ability to help you sleep better, maintain higher energy levels, and remove cellular waste are all excellent reasons to supplement your diet with tart cherry juice. Additionally, numerous studies have found a strong correlation to tart cherry intake and a reduction in inflammation. So much of what can go wrong in our guts is the result of inflamed intestines and GI organs, and reducing inflammation in essential to maintaining a healthy gut. 

              Another gut-healthy ingredient found in Upgraid is ginger, which has been proven to have effects that prevent cancer. Historically, it has been used across the globe to aid digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea. Good news for everyone who enjoys the occasional ginger ale! The anticancer properties of ginger are attributed to “the presence of certain pungent vallinoids (gingerol and paradol), as well as some other constituents like shogaols, zingerone etc. A number of mechanisms that may be involved in the chemopreventive effects of ginger and its components have been reported from the laboratory studies in a wide range of experimental models.” In short, this means that ginger is another potent food to add to your diet, if struggling with indigestion or nausea. 

              Finally, we’ll close by mentioning Upgraid’s use of turmeric, a spice in the Zingiberacaea family with multifunctional medicinal properties. This useful herbal medicinal plant owes most of its usefulness to curcumin. Significant research has been done on the medicinal properties of curcumin, with recent studies suggesting that it’s more effective at fighting inflammation than many anti-inflammatory drugs. As was mentioned before, combating inflammation is critical to fighting gut-centered autoimmune diseases.

              Healthy living is just a click away.

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