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Digestion In Old Age: Tips To Help Improve Digestion In Senior Citizens

Posted on 29 December 2020

Digestion In Old Age: Tips To Help Improve Digestion In Senior Citizens

Everyone enjoys eating good food as it is one of the greatest luxuries and pleasure for human beings. However, we won’t be able to enjoy this luxury if our digestive system is not on track.  With growing age, our digestive system slows down and eventually becomes weak, and at that time it is extremely important to take care of our digestive system because, in turn, it takes care of us! 

To maintain good digestion in old age, one must follow a healthy lifestyle and right food habits because indigestion at such age can give rise to a gas problem in old age & digestive disorders in old age. If you are wondering - How to improve digestion in old age and cope up with the ageing digestive tract? Then we have enlisted below some of the best and effective food items to improve digestion in old age

  • Yoghurt
  • Fennel
  • Apple 
  • Papaya
  • Oats
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, etc
  • Polyphenols like cocoa, green tea.
  • Leafy vegetables, etc,.

All these foods can effectively reduce the effects of ageing on our digestive system.

Moreover, indigestion is not the only digestive problem that can occur due to ageing. Other health problems can also occur, like:

  1. Constipation 
  2. Chronic diarrhoea 
  3. Ulcers
  4. GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  5. Haemorrhoids, etc

To prevent all these health problems, one must follow a healthy lifestyle. One should swear by the best home remedies for digestion in old age to attain fast digestion which we will cover later in this write-up.

As we know, digestion is the process of breakdown of food particles which further gets absorbed into the bloodstream by mechanical, chemical as well as enzymatic breakdown. It is a very complex process by which food is converted into energy and waste products after a series of reactions and processes in our body. Therefore, to keep these processes on track, we must take care of our digestive system. 

Now a question arises: How ageing affects our digestive system or what is the cause of digestive system problems at old age? So here are some points that can probably answer this question and cure your curiosity:

  • Declining speed of  Digestive system process
  • Digestive problems are the result of changes in our digestive system. As we age, our digestive system slows down, in the language of science, the process of moving the food through the colon becomes slow due to which the body starts absorbing the water from the waste products and that causes a lot of problems like constipation, etc.

  • Drugs and medications

  • Image Source: Pexels

    As we age, our health becomes weak and it becomes very difficult to maintain our gut health because many medications disturb our digestive system, for example, narcotics slow down our gut processes. So it is recommended that one should always take advice from doctors before taking any medications.

  • Inactivity
  • Inactivity gives rise to many digestive problems like constipation, indigestion etc and most of the elderly people are less active. Being less active plus taking medications like narcotics is what makes the condition worse. So it is advisable to be active in old age. Do some exercise for digestion in old age or just take a walk to maintain your gut health.

  • Not taking plenty of fluids

  • Image Source: Pexels

    Not drinking enough water can cause constipation, indigestion and other digestive problems in elderly people as well as in people of any age. Fluids help to break down food so that nutrients can be easily absorbed by our body. It also helps to soften stools and prevents constipation. So it is necessary to take sufficient amounts of water and other fluids daily.

  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Stress can adversely affect our digestive system. It can cause various gut problems like cramping, bloating, indigestion, inflammation, loss of appetite, etc. So it is very important to avoid taking stress and maintaining our mental peace.

  • Not getting proper sleep 
  • A night of good and nice sleep is important for our health. It is a kind of essential therapy that we need daily to relax and re-energise our body for the next day because sleep is the time required for the body's recovery.  Sleep apnea and insomnia cause digestive problems because both of these conditions do not let the cells of our digestive system heal, grow and repair which is only possible when we sleep. So take a good and sound sleep for better gut health and it is what helps digestion in old age.

  • Declining digestive enzymes 
  • Digestive enzymes are biologically active proteins that speed up the biochemical reactions in our body and are produced by our body (endogenous digestive enzymes). These enzymes help in breaking down food into nutrients so that our intestines can absorb it thus it makes the digestion process easier and faster. Our digestive enzymes tend to decrease as we age because ageing brings deterioration of body organs especially to the organs which produce digestive enzymes (pancreas, salivary glands, stomach, and small intestines), thus, impairs its ability to function properly. To prevent the consequences of the declining digestive enzymes, one must consider getting proper enzymes by consuming raw foods which naturally contain digestive enzymes (called 'exogenous digestive enzymes') or maybe take medications (with doctor's advice) to fulfil their body's needs.

    If you are looking for the answer to the following question: How to speed up digestion in old age? Then, you are in the right place. Let's quickly answer these questions by jumping to some of the best and effective remedies for digestion in old age. 

    Food Items For Better Gut Health



    Can effectively reduce the stomach acid thus preventing many gut problems like indigestion, etc.

    Carom seeds

    Also known as ajwain, it is known to be the best ingredient for many stomach related problems like indigestion, acidity, acid reflux problems, gas problems, stomach pain etc, as it is known to increase the gastric juices in our body. 

    Indian gooseberry

    Being an aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative, carminative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral, it helps to cure various digestive problems like indigestion, constipation, gas, acidity and other gut-related problems.

    Liquorice roots

    Roots of Licorice or mulethi is one of the best home remedies for digestion problems in old age as it promotes digestion and reduces inflammation, bloating, heartburn, acidity etc. 

    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds are known to soothe many stomach related problems like bloating, indigestion, cramping, nausea etc. 

    Chamomile Tea

    Helps in reducing stress & anxiety. Also, helps in curing indigestion by reducing stomach acid in our body. Being anti-inflammatory, it can also help in reducing pain. 

    Coriander Leaves

    Coriander or dhania help to ease many gut problems. It reduces gas, indigestion, constipation and bloating problems as well as other digestion problems because coriander stimulates digestive enzymes and juices.

    If you are looking for the recipes for home remedies for digestion problems in old age. Then go through this summarised table to find the best home based cure for various digestion problems.

    Image Source: Pexels

    Herb's name

    Method of preparation / consumption 


    A piece of ginger+2 cups of water (boil them together) and add some honey and lime if desired.

    Carom seeds

    Boil some carom seeds with water or just simply consume the seeds with water. 

    Indian gooseberry 

    Take Amla / Triphala churna with lukewarm water or have one-two amle ka murabba daily.

    Liquorice root 

    Boil liquorice root with some water

    Fennel seeds 

    Boil half teaspoon of fennel seeds with some water for ten minutes.

    Chamomile tea 

    Place a teabag of chamomile tea in warm water and drink this tea daily for better results.


    Make coriander water by mixing some coriander leaves or seeds in a bottle of water and refrigerate it overnight. Drink this coriander water regularly for better results. 

    So try these home remedies for digestion problem in old age and cure the discomfort caused by the problem of digestion in elderly people.

    In addition to these home remedies, also incorporate some habits that are good for your gut health. Follow the following tips to improve digestion in old age:

    1. Stay hydrated.
    2. Avoid/manage your stress.
    3. Take probiotics as they help to develop healthy bacteria in our gut which reduces many symptoms problems.
    4. Be physically active or do some exercises daily.
    5. Avoid smoking and drinking.
    6. Avoid irregular eating habits.
    7. Consume your meal on time.
    8.  Start taking smaller meals so that the digestive system doesn't get overloaded.
    9. Chew your food properly as the digestion process starts in the mouth with an enzyme called amylase in the saliva.
    10. Keep your dental health on track.

    These small tips to improve digestion for elderly people would bring a change in your digestive system and make your gut healthier. So follow these tips and home remedies for better gut health and stay healthy. Consult with your doctor if your gut health is persistently poor.

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