5 Important Nutrients for Gastrointestinal Health

5 Important Nutrients for Gastrointestinal Health

When you think of your gastrointestinal (GI) health, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it food? While it’s true that your diet plays a vital role in keeping your digestive system humming, it’s also essential to look at which nutrients those foods provide.

At Greenwich Wellness in Greenwich, Connecticut, Adam Massoud, DC, devotes his passion for health and wellness to helping people achieve balance in all aspects of life, including nutrition. If you have gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating, heartburn, or abdominal pain, Dr. Massoud’s whole-body approach can help improve your digestion and restore your GI health.

As part of your treatment strategy, Dr. Massoud could recommend a customized nutrition plan that includes supplements from Standard Process® and MediHerb®. Here are five important nutrients that promote healing, function, and wellness in the gastrointestinal tract.

1. B vitamins

When it comes to your digestive health, B vitamins offer numerous benefits, such as:

Unlike other vitamins that your body can store for later use, you need to make B vitamins part of your regular diet because they get used immediately. These nutrients come in various forms, such as poultry, meat, dairy products, fish, beans, and leafy green vegetables.

2. Vitamin C

Not all vitamins and nutrients are created equal, and vitamin C is the perfect example.

You may think of vitamin C as an antioxidant powerhouse that can help keep your immune system strong and help keep colds at bay. However, it also helps keep your teeth and gums healthy and helps your system absorb iron.

Great food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits and berries, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers. You can also add a whole food based vitamin C supplement to ensure adequate daily levels.

3. Vitamin D

Nothing really compares with vitamin D when it comes to vitamins that pack a punch. 

Not only does this essential vitamin play a role in how your muscles, nerves, and immune system function, but it also helps your body absorb calcium. On top of that, studies show that maintaining healthy vitamin D levels can reduce your risk for colon cancer.

Vitamin D comes from three sources: sun exposure, supplements, and vitamin D-rich foods, such as liver, saltwater fish, and egg yolks. You can also watch for vitamin D fortified foods, such as milk and cereal.

It’s common to have low vitamin D levels when you have certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease. So supplements can play a crucial part in improving your digestive health.

4. Vitamin A

Technically speaking, vitamin A isn’t directly associated with digestion. Instead, this vital nutrient supports your bones, vision, reproductive health, and immune system. However, some digestive disorders can leave you susceptible to vitamin A deficiency.

Having low vitamin A can actually worsen issues that occur from digestive disorders, especially Crohn’s disease. In fact, research shows that being deficient in this nutrient can increase the imbalance between destruction and formation of free radicals in the intestinal mucus lining of Crohn’s patients.

To add more vitamin A to your diet, choose colorful fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, along with dark leafy greens, milk, and liver.

5. Fiber

When gastrointestinal health comes up, the word “fiber” usually isn’t far behind.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, a nutrient your body uses for energy. However, unlike other carbohydrates, your body can’t break this nutrient down. Instead, most of it passes through your system, a process that stimulates and aids digestion. But it does far more than that. It also helps regulate how your body uses sugar, lowers your cholesterol, and leaves you feeling fuller longer.

Despite the importance of this nutrient, most adults only get about half of the fiber recommended on a daily basis. 

Excellent sources of fiber include:

You may notice that all of these sources of fiber involve plant-based foods. That’s because animal products, including meats and dairy, don’t contain fiber.

Do you want to improve your digestive health with nutrition? Dr. Massoud can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs. To learn more, call 203-806-9914 or book an appointment online with Greenwich Wellness today.

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