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Gastroenterology

A normally functioning gastrointestinal system is essential for the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. Nutrition therapy is essential in preventing, managing, and treating severe and chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Further, it also helps in treating the deficiencies and malnutrition that occur due to the disease of the stomach and small intestine. It is important not to overburden the gastrointestinal tract with food. An expert nutritionist should be consulted regarding the appropriate type of food to be consumed in gastrointestinal diseases.

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  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: This condition affects the intestine and the stomach. Patients with this condition experience bloating, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, gas, and cramping. It’ s a chronic condition, and long-term management is needed. Nutrition plays a significant role in preventing symptoms.
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease: Peptic ulcers are ulcers caused due to excessive acid that develop on the esophageal, stomach, and small intestinal lining. Based on the specific site, they are named esophageal ulcers, stomach ulcers, and duodenal ulcers. Foods rich in fat or spicy foods increase the risk of peptic ulcers and may also aggravate the symptoms.

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The types of diet recommended for gastrointestinal disorder are:

  • Regular diet:The doctor recommends eating a regular, healthy diet to prevent the deficiency of vitamins and minerals. However, they may alter their diet or food habits to minimize gastric symptoms.
  • Liquid diets: Liquid diet is recommended in patients who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery or suffer from inflammation in the gastrointestinal system.
  • Soft diets: A Soft diet includes foods of a semi-solid nature. This diet is recommended post-operatively and in certain gastrointestinal disorders when the system cannot metabolize solid food.
  • High protein diet: A High protein diet is recommended for diseases related to the liver, such as hepatitis or liver cirrhosis.
  • High residue diet: This diet includes a high proportion of fibers. It is recommended in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, atonic constipation, diverticulosis, and spastic colon.

Dietary measures for GERD:

  • Avoid eating high-fat meals and overeating.
  • Eat frequently in small portions and reduce weight if you are obese.
  • Avoid consuming peppermint, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate, as these are irritants for the stomach.
Dietary measures for peptic ulcer disease:
  • Routine evaluation of vitamin B- 12 levels.
  • Consume a nutritious and balanced diet.
  • Avoid taking alcohol, black pepper, chocolate, and caffeine.
Dietary measures for irritable bowel syndrome:
  • Limit the use of lactose, sugar, and gluten-based on the individual's symptoms.
  • Consider a low-FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet.
  • Restrict foods such as pears, honey, apples, figs, soft cheese, ice cream, and milk.

Several types of nutritional deficiencies occur in patients with gastrointestinal disorders. These include micronutrient deficiencies, including iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Gastrointestinal diseases also cause deficiencies of all vitamins, particularly folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamins A, D, and K.