Gastrointestinal conditions range from conditions that many encounter at some point in time. Gut-related issues include milder conditions such as functional constipation or frequent acidity, to more serious, chronic conditions such as metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
If not treated effectively, such conditions can increase the risk of complications such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In order to tackle these conditions, a holistic disease management approach that includes diet and lifestyle modifications is necessary.
Patients with gastrointestinal conditions need tailored diet and lifestyle recommendations, specific to their condition and individual circumstances. However, they may be relying on generic dietary guidance derived from global sources found online.
Such diet plans do not always reflect the nuances of your health condition. Nor do they factor in the Indian diet, or its diversity across regions, ranging from rajma chawal to dosa and idli. This makes it difficult to navigate daily meal and snack choices, and as a result, the diet plan becomes hard to follow.
Dr. Ramesh Garg, Consultant Gastroenterologist said, “There is a high prevalence of various gastrointestinal conditions across India, which can be aggravated by sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets. Lifestyle modifications such as physical exercise and dietary changes, along with treatment, can help manage these gastrointestinal issues. Such recommendations should be customized for each person’s health condition and nutritional requirements, while also being regionally specific to cater to the diverse Indian palette.”
Be sure to ask your nutritionist or doctor for a tailored plan to take care of your gut health and manage your gastrointestinal condition.
Diet Plan For Healthy Gut
Here are 6 key components that every tailored diet and lifestyle management plan should include:
Frequency and size of meals: The recommended frequency can vary widely as per individual requirements. For instance, roughly 5-6 small meals are recommended for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while 3 meals a day are suggested in the case of patients with hyperlipidemia or hypertension. Overall, maintaining a regular schedule is vital, and can be helpful in curbing acid production and reflux.
Cooking methods: Yes, whether you boil, steam or sauté your food does matter! For instance, deep-frying food should be avoided by patients with diabetic gastroparesis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and functional constipation. And broadly speaking, it is a good idea to avoid peeling vegetables before cooking. Once rinsed and cleaned, vegetable peels are excellent sources of nutrients and fibers that are key to maintaining a healthy gut.
Meal composition: The ideal dietary plan will balance various factors to meet nutritional requirements. These include energy content, foods that may aggravate conditions, and criteria for intake of fiber, greens, proteins, carbohydrates, and other food groups. For instance, increased consumption of non-starchy and green leafy vegetables, as well as whole unrefined grains is recommended for people with obesity. While your doctor or nutritionist can help you determine the optimal diet, stay flexible and add variety to make your week’s meals more interesting.
Level of physical activity: Various factors influence the ideal level of physical activity. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome can benefit from regular moderate activity such as walking, jogging or swimming for an hour, which can facilitate gas clearance and provide constipation relief. For those with peptic ulcers, 30-60 minutes is recommended daily, alongside monitoring steps. Integrating physical activity into your lifestyle is important for sustained progress.
Water intake: Across most conditions, 2-3 litres of water intake is recommended daily. If this appears monotonous, you can consider more creative ways to hydrate, such as by consuming clear soups, coconut or lemon water. However, fluid intake recommendations may differ based on individual conditions, and should therefore be discussed with your doctor or nutritionist.
Sleep: Some conditions necessitate specific sleeping habits. Patients with gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) are advised to raise the head of their bed while sleeping, as well as to avoid sleeping within one hour of eating dinner. Quality of sleep is also essential, with improved sleep being a key lifestyle-based treatment goal across some conditions.
Dr. Srirupa Das, Medical Director, Abbott India added, “At Abbott, we are committed to raising awareness about effective treatment and management options to support patients suffering from gastrointestinal conditions. Personalized counsel that includes India-specific dietary recommendations tailored to individual preferences can ensure better treatment adherence and improved health outcomes so that patients can make lasting changes to live fuller, healthier lives.”