Improving Your Digestive Health

Your digestive system is an important part of your body because it converts the foods and nutrients that you consume into energy for your body. Poor digestive health can cause serious discomfort, and may be a sign of unsatisfactory diet or other mild or serious health conditions.

Digestive Disorders

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – Commonly referred to as “acid reflux”, this condition causes a burning chest pain that is often felt after eating certain meals or before bed.
  • Crohn’s Disease – This is an autoimmune disorder that targets the small intestine, resulting in stomach pains, diarrhea, bleeding, weight loss, and even fever.
  • Ulcerative Colitis – Similar to Crohn’s disease, this condition is an autoimmune disorder that results in similar symptoms, but affects the large intestine instead of the small intestine.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – This condition gets its name from the irritability and discomfort it causes a persons digestive system. IBS is different for each person who suffers from it and can result in different symptoms for each individual including diarrhea, constipation, loose stools, dry stools, and more. Many people with IBS find relief by avoiding certain foods that trigger reactions (often dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and others).
  • Diverticulitis – This condition is the result of weak spots throughout the digestive system that form pouches (diverticula) and begin to bleed and become inflamed.

Improving Digestive Health

  • Maintaining a balanced diet, particularly one that is rich in fiber, may help ease certain digestive conditions. Foods that are rich in fiber include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Stay away from excess fat and choose to eat lean cuts of meat. Large amounts of fat in the diet can result in constipation; cutting these high-fat foods out will help ease digestive discomfort.
  • Drinking water and staying hydrated can also help improve digestive health. In addition to reducing excess bloating, drinking sufficient quantities of water helps your digestive system get rid of excess fiber and fat.
  • Stay away from foods and beverages that have triggered negative digestive symptoms in the past.

If you are experiencing problems with your digestive health, contact the Digestive Disease Center of the Hudson Valley.


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works