110222 HEALTHY AGING: How to fight low metabolism, spicy rebellion, hormones, and other body changes by Treva Lind Part 2 of 4

110222 HEALTHY AGING: How to fight low metabolism, spicy rebellion, hormones, and other body changes by Treva Lind Part 2 of 4

Both the artist Molly Quin and author Treva Lind are from The SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

Lactose or spicy rebellion

The small intestine produces lactase, an enzyme that helps break down lactose, the milk sugar. As the small intestine ages, sometimes it can’t make the same amount of lactase it used to, Ropp said. That tends to run in families, too.

Ask your doctor if you suspect a new dairy sensitivity causing digestive issues, or to rule out anything more serious, according to the Mayo Clinic. If confirmed, you might have to use reduced lactose dairy products or consume lactose-free.

When spicier foods object, that also can be the digestive system’s aging. It’s easy to forget that internal organs also age, impacting how our body absorbs and uses food, Ropp said. Eating a healthier diet overall can help. We have stomach acids and enzymes that help break down food and move things along, she  added, but the digestive system doesn’t make as much of those in senior years, so food can build up in your stomach – and hence reflux.

“Also, you sometimes can’t handle eating as much at one time,” Ropp said.

“You might have been able to eat that full Mexican meal and had no trouble when you were younger because your younger stomach could handle digesting that much at once. But as you get older, your stomach just like everything ages and isn’t as able to keep up.”

Ways to help counteract include eating more foods with fiber, considering probiotics and decreasing the amount of inflammatory foods you eat, such as fatty meat, to keep gut tissues healthier longer.

“Take in more foods with soluble fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”

The Mayo Clinic added that age-related structural changes in the large intestine can result in more constipation, although other culprits are lack of exercise, not drinking enough fluids and a lower-fiber diet. Medications and supplements can affect that. The article urged high-fiber foods, plenty of fluids, physical activity and regular bathroom visits.

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