7 ways to better digestive health and wellness

From press release

HOBART, N.Y.—Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States alone are afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a category of illnesses that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and that number is steadily growing.

The new book, Living with Crohn’s & Colitis (Hatherleigh Press, 2010) offers patient-focused, expert guidance on everything from the latest medical treatments, how to cope with a diagnosis, and tips for balancing diet with a busy lifestyle so you can form a personalized wellness plan.

The authors, Dr. Jessica Black and Crohn’s patient Dede Cummings, collaborated to offer a hopeful and authoritative resource for digestive disorder sufferers from the unique perspective of the doctor-patient relationship.

The authors offer these tips for better digestive health and wellness:

Improve your diet. Even minor dietary changes can affect health significantly, and usually larger dietary changes can bring even better results. Avoid processed foods and foods with additives, colors and preservatives. Avoid sugars, especially items sweetened with refined sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup.

Make lifestyle changes. Integrating whole-body treatment and lifestyle changes can help to improve overall health rather than focusing on one issue or one specific problem. Create a routine and rhythm for yourself. Routines promote better breathing, and better, more relaxed, breathing creates better health and better resistance to illness.

Begin an exercise routine. No matter what your physical state is, there is always something you can do for exercise. Follow a daily plan to maintain good health. Thirty minutes to one hour walking outside can help improve mood and energy.

Maintain a holistic approach to your health. Taking supplements, getting a stool sample analysis, and going to a psychotherapist, massage therapist, or naturopathic physician are all effective starting points to building an overall, holistic, treatment plan that achieves results for patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Increase laughter in your life. Laughter is extremely important for emotional and physical health. In fact, researchers in Japan found laughter very effective in reducing inflammatory cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Laughter, along with socializing with friends and joining a support group through your local hospital or naturopathic health clinic, can really be beneficial.

Keep a health journal. For an entire week, try writing in a journal all the symptoms your body has and everything you are doing and eating. Be sure to record all symptoms, from the most minor crick in the neck to low back pain, to headaches, to diarrhea. By doing this, you can learn how your body is trying to communicate with you, how you can listen to your body, and then change if you need to.

Try yoga or meditation. Meditation is an extremely important, yet very simple, relaxation tool. Yoga is a great way to relax and is most effective by adopting a regular routine. Try a DVD at home, or you can join a class with a trained yoga teacher.

Learning to live with the myriad aspects of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis treatment, including dietary restrictions and medications, can seem overwhelming. Living with Crohn’s & Colitis is a thoughtful, balanced resource to help you on your journey to wellness.

The book is distributed by Random House and retails for $15 paperback or $9.99 e-book.

From the June 23-29, 2010 issue

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