I used to regularly get crippling gut pain. I mean buckled over, can’t function, bloating.
If you’ve ever experienced digestive discomfort and the swollen gut that goes along with it, you’ll know that it causes more problems than making you look six months pregnant.
This was incredibly frustrating for me, as, being a fitness dude, I was pretty careful with my diet and thought I was doing all the right things. Plenty of fibre, not much junk, lots of water and exercise.
I discovered that I was making some common mistakes that contribute to bloating.
I know many of you also suffer from abdominal discomfort to varying degrees and are constantly questioning what exactly you did or ate to cause a swollen belly and the pain that goes along with it.
What really worked for me was changing the way I eat and cutting out certain foods altogether. I should add that I made these adjustments under the guidance of a naturopath and a dietitian, and I strongly recommend that you consult a health professional to assist you when you’re considering certain foods out of your diet.
If you’re suffering with bloating and gut pain, here are some basic healthy nutrition steps you can take that should make a big difference.
1) Don’t stuff your face
For many people, the cause of their bloating could be as simple as just eating too much. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re 80 percent full.
It’s really common for busy people to rush their meals. Eating too fast and not chewing your food properly can also cause problems. Remember that digestion starts in the mouth so make sure that you take your time to chew your food.
2) Take a probiotic
A daily multi-strain probiotic can help with bloating too. It’s also a great idea to add fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut to your diet. One serving of fermented food on top of your daily probiotic will make a big difference.
3) Cut out or reduce FODMAPS
FODMAPs are sugars that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by bacteria to produce gas. Current research strongly suggests that this group of sugars contributes to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (FGID). They’re found in a wide range of foods including:
- fructose in excess (found in certain fruits and honey)
- lactose (found in milk and milk products)
- sorbitol and mannitol (found in some fruits and vegetables and often added as artificial sweeteners)
- wheat, rye, onions and garlic
- legumes such as chickpeas.
The main culprits then if you’re following a low FODMAPs diet are:
- high fructose and all fruit juice
- dairy products
- beans, onion and artichokes
- barley, rye and wheat products
What worked for me
I virtually eliminated my stomach cramps a few years ago by getting rid of the following foods:
- cottage cheese
- pasta and bread
- artificial sweeteners (chewing gum, cheap crappy protein bars, flavoured drinks)
I also got rid of most legumes. I still occasionally have lentils and hummus.
I never fully appreciated how much my tummy aches were affecting my life until I got rid of them. If it’s an issue for you too, I highly recommend you consider making some changes.
If gut pain and boating are still hanging around
You need to see a health professional. Chronic bloating can be caused by more serious conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, or allergies and intolerances.