Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our guts

Our guts
Mon, Jun 01, 2009
The Star/Asia News Network

Can you briefly tell us some of the most common digestive problems in Malaysia?

These include reflux oesophagitis, peptic ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer.

As you may already know, digestive system disease is prevalent worldwide. Taking that into account, it is also one of the leading causes of death as reported in hospitals of the Malaysian Ministry of Health. It was reported in 2006 that diseases of the digestive system ranked sixth among the leading causes of death in MOH hospitals and seventh among leading causes of hospitalisation.

What are the factors contributing to these disorders?

The main factors contributing to the increase of these diseases would be lifestyle and dietary choices. With regards to colon cancer, the main and definitive cause is family history. The second contributing factor is the consumption of a Western diet, for example, too much red meat and not enough roughage. Other factors include not getting into the healthy habit of exercising.

What are your recommendations to improve one's digestive health?

First of all, we need to watch what we eat. It is important that you maintain a healthy diet. Fill up on fibre-rich food like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and wholegrains. You may want to choose meats that have lower fat contents such as chicken, turkey, or lean cuts of beef. You are also advised to reduce your intake of fried, fatty, and greasy foods.

It is vital that you drink at least two litres of water daily and decrease intake of caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugar-rich beverages. Besides making changes to the diet, adopting a healthy lifestyle such as getting regular exercise, managing stress, and quitting smoking are important measures to improve your digestive health.

The above is an excerpt from an article which was first published in The Star.

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