Many people suffer every day from gastro intestinal symptoms. This may include chronic constipation, excessive gas, bloating and pains. When this is occurring, there are a number of different factors to consider. It could be due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, coeliac disease, intolerances or other conditions. However, the first thing to rule out is a simple dietary causes. You can do this by taking a look at the quality of your diet and asking yourself how you really measure up against the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
It seems like an easy fix to a sometimes extremely uncomfortable problem, but the way you eat can of course have a significant impact on your digestion. Sometimes all it takes is eating more healthily and mindfully.
What do you look for when assessing your diet?
Firstly, you need to focus on the overall quality of the food you are eating. If you are eating a lot of high fat, takeaway, processed foods then this is not going to give your body what it needs to function correctly. Make sure you are eating as many fresh ingredients as possible and that you are getting a range of foods from the five foods groups. This will get you off to the best start.
Secondly, fibre! This one is vital for proper digestion. Fibre passes through the body relatively undigested. It forms the bulk of our stool; so it is very difficult for our bodies to move food down the digestive tract if we don’t have enough of it. Check to make sure you are getting enough fruit, a variety of vegetables, and wholegrain foods. Fibre is often lacking in diets with low vegetable intakes, and can also be neglected due to preferences for products made of white flour.
Thirdly, water – another very important point. You can have all the fibre you like, but it may only make you more gassy and constipated if you don’t have enough fluid to soften the stool for its passage through the body. It is very common that people are bloated and constipated purely because they are under consuming water. Often we aren’t even coming close to our requirements of around 2.1L per day for women and 2.6L for men.
Making the above changes can be enough to solve the issues of gas/ bloating/ pain. If these suggestions do not work, intolerances or other causes can be investigated.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about nutrition, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!