If you’re an older adult, you probably hear a lot about aging and how to do it healthily. However, lots of people may not know the link between their health and their gut. We know that a healthy gut means a healthy senior!
Each person’s gut microbiome, which just means small (micro) organisms in their specific environment, has thousands of bacteria and fungi that live in your gut and help to digest and absorb food. They can even have an impact on your immune system. The bacteria in your gut can differ from person to person, but if you have an unhealthy combination, it has shown a link between obesity, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, and even depression.
As we all age, our gut microbiomes can change and become less diverse, and the dominant species of bacteria can change. These kinds of changes can be linked to things like medication usage, hospital admissions, and different diets. Again, as we age, there can be changes to our immune system that cause constant but mild inflammation, which can affect what bacteria is allowed to grow. This can allow more negative, or bad, bacteria to take over and cause issues. This can lead to more urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and other infections.
Ways to Improve Gut Health:
- Eat less sugar and processed foods.
- Take a probiotic (although the species of bacteria in these are still limited).
- Eat more foods high in fiber like vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and legumes (like peanuts or soy)
Learn more about Sowega Council on Aging’s nutrition classes offered online by clicking here.